Sage suspends £250m buyback to preserve cash

Sage HQ in Newcastle

Newcastle-based software giant Sage Group said on Wednesday afternoon that “in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic” it has suspended its recently announced share buy-back programme “in order to preserve a high level of liquidity.”

Last week, Sage said it completed the disposal of Sage Pay to Elavon, a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp, for £232 million — and said it started a share buy-back programme of up to £250 million.

Sage said last week that all shares repurchased would be held in treasury and “used to meet obligations arising from share option programmes, or other allocations of shares” to employees or directors.

But on Wednesday, the Newcastle firm said: “Sage has a strong balance sheet and low debt, supported by a resilient, recurring revenue stream and robust cash flow generation.  

“Whilst the impact of COVID-19 on Sage’s business performance to date has been limited, the board believes that given the highly uncertain economic outlook it is prudent to suspend the share buy-back. 

“The board will consider restarting the share buy-back programme in due course.”