Sage unimpressed by French performance

Profit 'solid' after UK, Germany rescue European sales


Brit accountancy software biz Sage ground out a relatively decent set of fiscal 2012 financial results as it moves towards more cloud-based sales.

Organic revenues from continuing operations went up two per cent year on year to £1.34bn and profit before tax edged up just one per cent to £334m.

CEO Guy Berruyer described the numbers as "solid" against the backdrop of a "macro-economic environment which remained difficult in most of our markets". Subscription-based turnover grew six per cent but software and related services fell three per cent due "weak market conditions, particularly in France and Spain".

But it added the "shift to recurring revenues" contributed to the dip in other country operations.

Trade in Europe "remained challenging", up just a single per cent to £775.8m, but the UK bucked this average to grow four per cent and Germany did even better up five per cent.

In the Americas division sales climbed four per cent to £411.7m and in the unit covering Africa, Australia, Middle East and Asia the top line grew ten per cent to £152.7m

Back in July, at the half way point in fiscal 2012, Sage outlined its goal to double historic average organic growth rates within three years. Getting back to the basics of shifting accounting, ERP and payroll software to small and mid-sized clients is one of the areas the firm claims to be sharpening up on. It flogged its healthcare business in the US this year to demonstrate this.

Sage has classified products as Invest, Harvest or Sunset depending on their current lifecycle and will use this to determine where to place people, resources and R&D.

"It will take time for this programme to deliver in full, but the approach to streamlining resources is embedded across the group," the firm stated.

The third pillar of its strategy is migrating customers to subscription-based services such as Sage One (SaaS) and Sage ERP X3. A number of subscription pricing options were revealed in fiscal 2012 alongside traditional licence and support services. ®

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