Business software vendor Sage is celebrating a solid third quarter as the UK and Ireland performed well and the troubled markets of mainland Europe delivered "resilient performances".
In an interim management statement covering the period from 1 April to date, the Geordie vendor claimed that it continues to trade in line with expectations. Its UK and Ireland operation was singled out as a star performer, with "the business capitalising on legislative change to support growth".
"Our businesses in mainland Europe delivered resilient performances in market conditions which remain weak, particularly in our larger markets of France and Spain," added the statement.
Sage claims that its North American unit delivered a "good performance" in Q3 as customers migrated to premium support packages and sales of its ERP X3 software were brisk. The emerging markets of Africa, Asia and the Middle East continued "to deliver good growth", claimed Sage.
Chief executive Guy Berruyer said: "We are encouraged by our performance in a trading environment which continues to vary across our markets. We are driving significant change through the business, which is delivering results, and we remain confident that we will deliver on our strategic and financial goals."
Sage claims that its "operating cash generation remains strong". During Q3 shareholders were given an ordinary dividend of £42.8m and a special dividend of £198.7m. A share buyback operation continues and 12 million shares have been repurchased in the past three months, at a cost of £40.5m. The vendor's net debt, as of 30 June, stood at £445.1m, compared with £230.8m as of 31 March.
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