Sage cuts debt as trading stays in-line


Sage cuts debt as trading stays in-line

Alex Scroxton

British business software kingpin Sage cut its net debt by £47mto £392m in the three months to the end of December as trading remained in line with previously announced expectations, the group said today in an interim trading statement for Q1.

"We continue to navigate successfully the challenging market conditions through our focus on high quality customer service. We have seen no change to the environment over the period and our first quarter results were in-line with our expectations," said chief executive Paul Walker.

The boss added: "Our proven business model and the loyalty of our large, geographically diverse, customer base give us confidence that we are well positioned for these conditions and the eventual market recovery."

Back in December Walker warned that it was too early to start talking of recovery, but his words today came as the UK emerged tentatively from recession, with the economy growing by 0.1% in the three months to 31 December.

Analysts at Jefferies International said Sage was benefiting from the resilience afforded by its enormous subscription revenue base, and had made sterling efforts on cost reductions. However, they failed to see catalysts for licence revenue growth anytime soon.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect Sage to make total sales of £1.42bn and pre-tax profits of around £320m in fiscal 2010, which closes in September.

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