Sage Business Cloud rises 21% as it buys Futrli

Sage Group CEO Steve Hare

Sage Group, the Newcastle-based accounting software giant for SMEs, said on Friday its first-half statutory revenue held steady at £934 million as it reported strong organic recurring revenue growth of 8%, driven by Sage Business Cloud growth of 21%.

Sage also announced it completed the acquisition of Futrli, a UK cash flow forecasting software product for SMEs and accountants.

The Newcastle FTSE 100 firm said the acquisition “deepens Sage’s commitment to supporting accountants with complete end-to-end proposal-to-advisory services as the industry prepares for Making Tax Digital for Income Tax Self-Assessment (MTD for ITSA).”

Interim dividend is up 4% to 6.3p “with a progressive policy going forwards of growing the dividend over time.”

Profit before tax slipped 1% to £189 million for the six months to March 31, 2022, as Sage reported a “robust” balance sheet, with £1.2 billion of cash and available liquidity.

Sage Group CEO Steve Hare said: “We achieved a strong first half performance, in line with expectations, demonstrating sustainable growth and building further momentum.

“Our strategic investment in sales, marketing and innovation has continued to accelerate revenues across Sage Business Cloud, underpinned by increasing levels of new customer acquisition.

“Cloud native solutions, which now account for around a quarter of group ARR, have performed particularly well.

While we are mindful of increased macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainties, our customers remain confident and resilient.

“Our aim is to knock down barriers to their success, delivering solutions that make their lives easier, and we continue to make good progress against our strategic objectives.

“I am confident that our ambition to become the trusted network for small and mid-sized businesses will drive the success of Sage, as we focus on growing both revenue and earnings in absolute terms.”

AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said: “Fitting the rather soporific mood of markets were results from accounting software firm Sage.

“The company may be about as exciting as John Major reading the dictionary, but the shares performed well off the back of strong first-half results.

“In uncertain times a mundane marvel like Sage is likely to get a warm reception from the market and a sizeable increase in recurring revenue and just being on track to hit expectations was enough to see it receive a gold star from investors.”