Sage eyes Europe warily

Accountancy software group Sage said it had grown revenues slightly over the past year but was keeping a close eye on conditions in Europe, particularly France.

Accountancy software group Sage said it had grown revenues slightly over the past year but was keeping a close eye on conditions in Europe, particularly France.

Organic revenue growth, which strips out acquisitions and disposals, was up 2% in the year, marking a slowdown from the 4% growth in 2011.

The company saw 6% growth in subscription revenue, but was hit by a 5% drop in software and software-related service revenue.

Underlying pre-tax profit was up 4% to £356.3m but underlying earnings per share dropped to 19.86p from 20.28p the year before.

The company put the latter down to an increase in tax rate from 23% to 29%.

It also cut its final dividend to 6.67p per share from 7.07p in 2011, however, the total dividend for the year was up 4% at 10.15p.

Chief Executive Guy Berruyer said a feature of the year had been the variable trading performance by geography.

"Europe's performance reflected good growth by the UK and Germany, offset by the impact of weaker markets in France and Spain," he said.

"North America delivered the anticipated improvement in the second half of the year while AAMEA continued to deliver very strong growth.

"As we look forward, the global macro-economic outlook remains uncertain and we are watchful of the environment in Europe, particularly in France," he added.

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