Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom Sage Group https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk Proactiveinvestors United Kingdom Sage Group RSS feed en Wed, 16 Jan 2019 02:35:02 +0000 http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss Genera CMS action@proactiveinvestors.com (Proactiveinvestors) action@proactiveinvestors.com (Proactiveinvestors) <![CDATA[News - Sage agrees around £78mln disposal of its US-based payroll outsourcing business to iSolved HCM ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/212619/sage-agrees-around-78mln-disposal-of-its-us-based-payroll-outsourcing-business-to-isolved-hcm-212619.html Sage Group PLC (LON:SGE) has agreed to sell its US-based payroll outsourcing business Sage Payroll Solutions to iSolved HCM, LLC for around £78mln.

The FTSE 100-listed accounting software firm said the disposal is part of its strategy, as set out in its November 2018 results, to focus on sUBScription software solutions that are in or have a pathway to the Sage Business Cloud.

READ: Sage under pressure as UBS chops its price target once again

iSolved is a portfolio company of Accel-KKR and a provider of human capital management solutions.

Sage said the sale will see £73mln payable in cash on completion, subject to a customary debt and working capital adjustment, while the remaining £5mln represents contingent consideration.

The group added that it expects to report a statutory profit on disposal of approximately £23mln on completion, with the disposal proceeds to be invested for growth and used to reduce net debt.

For the year ended 30 September 2018, Sage Payroll Solutions had revenue of £38mln and operating loss of £1mln.

The firm said, subject to certain conditions, completion of the disposal is expected to occur within the next three months.

Shares higher; Q1 update awaited

In afternoon trading, shares in Sage were 1.6% higher at 601.20p.

Sage is due to provide a first-quarter update on Thursday, 17 January, which will give the firm a chance to introduce its new CFO, Jonathan Howell, to investors.

In a preview, UBS said it reckons Sages faces “relatively easy comparatives” from last year.

“Recurring revenues exited 2018 with 7.2% growth in Q4 and was 7.0% in Q1 last year, so the comparative is not too hard, although [software-related services] was decent at +4% in Q1 last year,” the Swiss bank’s analysts said.

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Tue, 15 Jan 2019 14:52:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/212619/sage-agrees-around-78mln-disposal-of-its-us-based-payroll-outsourcing-business-to-isolved-hcm-212619.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Disposal of US Payroll outsourcing business ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20190115130116_13935308/ Tue, 15 Jan 2019 13:01:16 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20190115130116_13935308/ <![CDATA[News - Sage under pressure as UBS chops its price target once again ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/212399/sage-under-pressure-as-ubs-chops-its-price-target-once-again-212399.html Sage PLC (LON:SGE) was under pressure on Friday after Swiss investment bank UBS took another dim view of the UK software giant ahead of its trading update next week.

Analysts downgraded the FTSE 100 company, which helps businesses manage things such as money and people, to ‘sell’ as they slashed their price target once again to 520p (from 590p).

READ: UBS slashes target Sage

The investment bank, which only last cut its target at the end of November, said strategic questions and competitive pressures remain.

“The shares are up 17% from their Q4 lows, and while many others in the sector have seen a similar bounce, none other has seen a double-digit EPS downgrade during the period,” read a note to clients.

“While management uncertainty is now addressed, neither the CEO nor CFO brings the "cloud-native experience" sought at the time of Stephen Kelly's departure.”

Analysts also took issue with Sage’s planned R&D spend of £250mln, which they said “pales in comparison” to some of its peers such as US rival Intuit.

What to look for next week

As for next Thursday’s first-quarter update, UBS reckons Sages faces “relatively easy comparatives” from last year.

“Recurring revenues exited 2018 with 7.2% growth in Q4 and was 7.0% in Q1 last year, so the comparative is not too hard, although [software-related services] was decent at +4% in Q1 last year.

“With no expected update on profitability, investors are likely to look at commentary around the performance of the UK and France – two key markets where macro risks are heightened and execution has been volatile in recent quarters.”

Sage shares were down 2.4% to 606p in late-morning trading on Friday.

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Fri, 11 Jan 2019 11:00:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/212399/sage-under-pressure-as-ubs-chops-its-price-target-once-again-212399.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Total Voting Rights ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181231090001_13919061/ Mon, 31 Dec 2018 09:00:01 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181231090001_13919061/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181217162335_13906732/ Mon, 17 Dec 2018 16:23:35 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181217162335_13906732/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Notification of Transaction of PDMR ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181212145940_13901461/ Wed, 12 Dec 2018 14:59:40 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181212145940_13901461/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181210130021_13897881/ Mon, 10 Dec 2018 13:00:21 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181210130021_13897881/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Block listing Interim Review ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181206172327_13894849/ Thu, 06 Dec 2018 17:23:27 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181206172327_13894849/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181206093357_13894029/ Thu, 06 Dec 2018 09:33:57 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181206093357_13894029/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181205160437_13893048/ Wed, 05 Dec 2018 16:04:37 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181205160437_13893048/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181204163303_13891395/ Tue, 04 Dec 2018 16:33:03 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181204163303_13891395/ <![CDATA[News - Sage Group names experienced finance boss Jonathan Howell as its chief financial officer from 10 December ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/210483/sage-group-names-experienced-finance-boss-jonathan-howell-as-its-chief-financial-officer-from-10-december-210483.html Sage Group PLC (LON:SGE) has named experienced finance boss Jonathan Howell as its chief financial officer (CFO) with effect from 10 December 2018.

The FTSE 100-listed accounting software provider noted that Howell was most recently been group finance director of Close Brothers Group PLC (LON:CBG) for ten years, and prior to that, was CFO of the London Stock Exchange Group PLC (LON:LSE).

READ: Sage Group names Steve Hare, currently its interim COO and CFO, to vacant CEO role

In addition, the group said Howell has been a non-executive director of Sage since 2013 and chairman of its Audit and Risk Committee.

Sage said it has initiated a process to appoint a new independent non-executive director and chairman of the Audit and Risk Committee.

Steve Hare, who took over as Sage’s chief executive officer at the start of November, said: "I am delighted that Jonathan has agreed to become CFO. He brings both considerable experience as a public company CFO as well as a strong understanding of the business.

“This, combined with our shared belief in the vision to become a great SaaS business for customers and colleagues alike makes him a great addition to the executive team."

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Tue, 04 Dec 2018 12:27:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/210483/sage-group-names-experienced-finance-boss-jonathan-howell-as-its-chief-financial-officer-from-10-december-210483.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Appointment of Group Chief Financial Officer ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181204070019_13889948/ Tue, 04 Dec 2018 07:00:19 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181204070019_13889948/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Total Voting Rights ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181130170439_13887736/ Fri, 30 Nov 2018 17:04:39 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181130170439_13887736/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181130165933_13887719/ Fri, 30 Nov 2018 16:59:33 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181130165933_13887719/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181128155705_13884098/ Wed, 28 Nov 2018 15:57:05 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181128155705_13884098/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181126132435_13880523/ Mon, 26 Nov 2018 13:24:35 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181126132435_13880523/ <![CDATA[News - UBS slashes target for Sage as it questions firm’s ability to innovate amid shift to cloud ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/209920/ubs-slashes-target-for-sage-as-it-questions-firms-ability-to-innovate-amid-shift-to-cloud-209920.html UBS has slashed its target price for Sage Group PLC (LON:SGE) to 590p from 700p as it questioned the firm’s ability to innovate amid its push to transfer to a cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.

The Swiss bank said while the FTSE 100 software firm had lifted its investment spend to £60mln this year, including a “sUBStantial” £40mln for research & development (R&D), the company’s investments “have lagged competitors for many years now, and we remain concerned about Sage's ability to innovate”.

READ: Sage shares fall as it warns margins investment in cloud transition will dent this year’s profits

“While "cloud-native" solutions reported 35% revenue growth in 2018 to reach £144mln (8% sales), most of the growth came from acquired rather than organically-developed solutions. With competitors still circling, while the strategy looks more plausible, risks remain” analysts said.

The bank added that while the £60mln investment was described as a one-off, they expected R&D spend to “stay elevated” going forward.

In its final results last week, Sage reported that as a result of the increased investment, margins for the current financial year were expected to fall to between 23-25% compared with 27.8% for the year just gone and 28% in fiscal 2017.

Lower growth and sluggish margins expected into new fiscal year

UBS also said that with management incentives focused on “recurring growth rather than total sales” as well as comments by the chief executive Steve Hare that "revenue growth may flatten. It may even dip slightly", lower growth and increased investments were “likely to remain a feature for some time”.

As a result of the new estimates, the bank’s earnings per share (EPS) estimates were cut by 17% to 29.6p for the 2019 financial year, and by 16% and 13% for 2020 and 2021 respectively.

Analysts also said that with the expected elevation in R&D they expected margins to recover only 30 basis points to 24.4% in 2020.

In mid-morning trading Monday, Sage shares were up 0.6% at 580p.

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Mon, 26 Nov 2018 10:30:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/209920/ubs-slashes-target-for-sage-as-it-questions-firms-ability-to-innovate-amid-shift-to-cloud-209920.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181123165322_13879130/ Fri, 23 Nov 2018 16:53:22 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181123165322_13879130/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Director/PDMR Shareholding ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181121132207_13875805/ Wed, 21 Nov 2018 13:22:07 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181121132207_13875805/ <![CDATA[News - Sage shares fall as it warns margins investment in cloud transition will dent this year’s profits ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/209659/sage-shares-fall-as-it-warns-margins-investment-in-cloud-transition-will-dent-this-years-profits-209659.html Sage Group PLC (LON:SGE) has warned that it expects margins to fall sharply this year, sending the shares in the software group lower on Wednesday morning.

The FTSE 100 company, which helps businesses manage things such as money and people, said it plans to invest £60mln as it looks to accelerate its shift towards cloud-based, software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.

As a result of the investment, Sage expects margins for the current financial year to fall to between 23-25%. That compares with 27.8% for the year just gone and 28% in fiscal 2017.

Annual profits surge

A recovery in Northern Europe helped boost revenue in the year ended September 30 by almost 8% to £1.85bn (2017: £1.72bn), while pre-tax profits rose 16.4% to £398mln (2017: £342mln).

The final dividend was nudged up to 10.85p from 10.20p a year earlier.

READ: Sage names Steve Hare as new boss

Delivering his first set of results since becoming chief executive, Steve hare said: “Sage has shown stronger performance in the second half of FY18.

“The renewed focus on high-quality subscription and recurring revenue has generated momentum as we exited the year. As CEO I will put customers, colleagues and innovation at the heart of everything we do to accelerate the transition to becoming a great SaaS business.”

Shares were down 4% to 515p on Wednesday morning.

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Wed, 21 Nov 2018 09:11:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/209659/sage-shares-fall-as-it-warns-margins-investment-in-cloud-transition-will-dent-this-years-profits-209659.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Final Results ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181121070005_13874323/ Wed, 21 Nov 2018 07:00:05 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181121070005_13874323/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181115173240_13869136/ Thu, 15 Nov 2018 17:32:40 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181115173240_13869136/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181109165519_13862330/ Fri, 09 Nov 2018 16:55:19 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181109165519_13862330/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181102144050_13853649/ Fri, 02 Nov 2018 14:40:50 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181102144050_13853649/ <![CDATA[News - Sage Group names Steve Hare, currently its interim COO and CFO, to vacant CEO role ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/208383/sage-group-names-steve-hare-currently-its-interim-coo-and-cfo-to-vacant-ceo-role-208383.html The Sage Group PLC (LON:SGE) has appointed Steve Hare, currently its interim chief operating officer and chief financial officer, to the role of chief executive officer with immediate effect.

The FTSE 100-listed software group said it has initiated a process to find a new chief financial officer with Hare to combine his duties as CFO with those as CEO until an appointment is made.

READ: The Sage Group parts company with chief executive, Stephen Kelly

Hare, who joined Sage’s board as CFO on 3 January 2014, was appointed to the additional post of interim COO on 31 August 2018, when Stephen Kelly stood down as the group’s CEO.

Kelly’s departure came after a profit warning in April, with the group blaming “inconsistent operational execution” for the cut in full-year guidance.

Even the revised guidance was heavily caveated, with the group saying achieving it depended on closing a number of enterprise management opportunities before the end of the financial year, which runs to the end of September.

In today’s statement, Donald Brydon, Sage’s chairman, commented: "As we looked externally for the experience, vision and deep knowledge required to accelerate operational execution it very quickly became clear through Steve's early decisions and his clear prioritisation that he is the right person to lead Sage."

Appointment welcomed

In a note to clients, analysts at Shore Capital commented: “We welcome Mr Hare’s appointment as CEO and believe the shares will react positively to the news.

“In our view, Sage is now unlikely to make any radical departures from the current strategy, as some had speculated, as Mr Hare has been central to the current direction of travel.”

The analysts added: “We believe the current strategy will continue to bear fruit as Sage continues along the journey towards a fully subscription-based business. We, therefore, do not believe any material departures from the target operating model or guidance are likely.”

In early morning trading, Sage Group shares were 3.8% higher at 570.60p.

 -- Adds analyst comment, share price --

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Fri, 02 Nov 2018 07:36:00 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/208383/sage-group-names-steve-hare-currently-its-interim-coo-and-cfo-to-vacant-ceo-role-208383.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Appointment of Group Chief Executive Officer ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181102070003_13852417/ Fri, 02 Nov 2018 07:00:03 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181102070003_13852417/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Total Voting Rights ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181101144832_13851930/ Thu, 01 Nov 2018 14:48:32 +0000 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181101144832_13851930/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Notification of director's interest in shares ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181026140418_13844475/ Fri, 26 Oct 2018 14:04:18 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181026140418_13844475/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181025141206_13842805/ Thu, 25 Oct 2018 14:12:06 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181025141206_13842805/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181012134415_13827356/ Fri, 12 Oct 2018 13:44:15 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181012134415_13827356/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181010161746_13824008/ Wed, 10 Oct 2018 16:17:46 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181010161746_13824008/ <![CDATA[News - Sage Group a possible takeover target for private equity funds, says Deutsche Bank ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/206775/sage-group-a-possible-takeover-target-for-private-equity-funds-says-deutsche-bank-206775.html Shares in UK software firm The Sage Group PLC (LON:SGE) shot higher on Wednesday after Deutsche Bank upgraded the stock and said private equity funds are likely examining a possible takeover offer.

Deutsche Bank raised its rating on Sage to ‘hold’ from ‘sell’ and maintained its target price at 540p.

READ: Sage Group's organic revenue growth picks-up

“In the past 2 months Sage has fallen by 16% and now trades at 16x our FY19 earnings per share, which is the low end of its 5 year valuation range,” the bank said.

“While competition is rising, we believe Sage has a relatively sticky, defensible product set and forecast mid-single % eps CAGR over the next 3 years, along with a 3% yield.

“We continue to think ~16x FY19 eps is reasonable, which yields our TP of 540p, only slightly below the current price, hence the upgrade.”

Shares have fallen since Sage announced the departure of its chief executive Stephen Kelly in August.

Private equity funds could be looking at Sage, says Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank believes private equity funds could be exploring an acquisition of Sage, given that US firm KKR & Co has launched a A$1.75bn takeover offer for MYOB Group after buying almost a fifth of the Australian accounting software provider.

The bank said it struggles to see obvious value for a private equity firm to buy Sage.

“Sage's strategy under Stephen Kelly has been two pronged - firstly to maintain the 'cash cow' on premise product set and within this to reverse engineer these products into 'cloud lite' versions (eg Sage 200c), encouraging customers to move from maintenance to subscription versions.

“Secondly, Sage invested in organically developed cloud products (Sage One, Sage Live) which had limited success and were augmented with acquired assets (Sage People, Intacct).”

READ: The Sage Group parts company with chief executive, Stephen Kelly

Deutsche Bank added that Sage could “plausibly be attractive for a private equity buyer or activist” so is wary of keeping its ‘sell’ recommendation.

If a private equity owner took Sage private, the bank thinks there would be “more of the same with greater focus”, heavy investment in the rapidly growing cloud segment, the sale of mature assets the disposal of the Intacct financial management and services business.

“So in conclusion, we can see a realistic asset sweating style scenario that might work for a private equity buyer but we do not see this as a 'slam dunk' investment given the uncertainty and leverage required.”

Shares rose 2.4% to 560p in late morning trading. 

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Wed, 10 Oct 2018 11:38:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/206775/sage-group-a-possible-takeover-target-for-private-equity-funds-says-deutsche-bank-206775.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181009113547_13821818/ Tue, 09 Oct 2018 11:35:47 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181009113547_13821818/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Total Voting Rights ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181008161136_13820686/ Mon, 08 Oct 2018 16:11:36 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181008161136_13820686/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Total Voting Rights ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181001161005_13811904/ Mon, 01 Oct 2018 16:10:05 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20181001161005_13811904/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20180926145837_13805796/ Wed, 26 Sep 2018 14:58:37 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20180926145837_13805796/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20180925143851_13804075/ Tue, 25 Sep 2018 14:38:51 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20180925143851_13804075/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20180904160842_13778600/ Tue, 04 Sep 2018 16:08:42 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20180904160842_13778600/ <![CDATA[News - Sage Group defenestration indicative of shortening shelf life of CEOs ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/203976/sage-group-defenestration-indicative-of-shortening-shelf-life-of-ceos-203976.html FTSE 100 chief executives are beginning to know how top flight football managers feel in terms of job security.

Today’s abrupt departure of Stephen Kelly, the chief executive officer of The Sage Group PLC (LON:SGE), means that 16% of the companies in the FTSE 100 have jettisoned their chief executives this year.

READ: The Sage Group parts company with chief executive, Stephen Kelly

According to Russ Mould, the investment director at AJ Bell, only 2007 and 2013 have seen more changes this century, with 17 changes at the top among the UK’s corporate elite on each occasion.

“In some ways, this seems odd, as 2000 and 2007 were clearly difficult years and 2013 was testing for certain sectors,” Mould observed.

“The tech bubble burst in the first case and the Great Financial Crisis began in the second, ushering in a recession and a multi-year bear market in share prices in both cases. In 2013, three miners – Anglo American, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton – all appointed new leaders as they looked to adapt to a new environment of lower commodity prices and shareholder calls for greater capital discipline and debt reduction,” he added.

Compared to big names such as Martin Sorrell (WPP), Adam Crozier (ITV), Moya Greene (Royal Mail) and Stuart Gulliver (HSBC), Kelly’s scalp is especially noteworthy.

READ Lloyds Banking and BT Group among the big names on the Investment Association's naughty step

Some of those big names have attracted the outspoken ire of shareholders whereas it appears that any misgivings about Kelly’s fitness to continue leading Sage were expressed behind closed doors.

Kelly lasted four years at Sage – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho tends not to last even that long at most of his clubs – and to keep the football analogy going, there are few Sir Alex Fergusons and Arsene Wengers among the FTSE 100 bosses, with just 11 of the current FTSE chief executives (CEOs) enjoying stints at the top of more than 10 years.

According to Mould, “Kelly’s 46 months in office compare to the current average across the FTSE 100 of 62 (or 5.2 years)”.

“Perhaps this is a reflection of how the underlying economy is still sluggish and generally unhelpful and pressure from investors to perform is all the greater, especially as activist investors are getting results with several interventions in the UK,” Mould suggested.

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Fri, 31 Aug 2018 12:33:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/203976/sage-group-defenestration-indicative-of-shortening-shelf-life-of-ceos-203976.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Total Voting Rights ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20180831120553_13774899/ Fri, 31 Aug 2018 12:05:53 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20180831120553_13774899/ <![CDATA[News - The Sage Group parts company with chief executive, Stephen Kelly ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/203953/the-sage-group-parts-company-with-chief-executive-stephen-kelly-203953.html Accountancy software giant The Sage Group PLC (LON:SGE) is looking for a new chief executive officer (CEO) after Stephen Kelly stepped down from the role.

While the search for a successor is in progress, the chief financial officer, Steve Hare, will act as the chief operating officer on an interim basis; he will have full executive authority to run the business until the appointment of the new CEO.

READ: Sage Group cuts annual revenue guidance after first half misses expectations​​

Kelly’s departure came after a profit warning in April, with the group blaming “inconsistent operational execution” for the cut in full-year guidance.

Even the revised guidance was heavily caveated, with the group saying achieving it depended on closing a number of enterprise management opportunities before the end of the financial year, which runs to the end of September.

Sage continues to trade in line with previous full-year guidance of around 7% organic revenue growth and around 27.5% organic operating margin, the group said.

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Fri, 31 Aug 2018 07:58:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/203953/the-sage-group-parts-company-with-chief-executive-stephen-kelly-203953.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Directorate Change ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20180831070005_13773830/ Fri, 31 Aug 2018 07:00:05 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20180831070005_13773830/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20180822175403_13765154/ Wed, 22 Aug 2018 17:54:03 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20180822175403_13765154/ <![CDATA[News - Sage Group shares plummet as Deutsche Bank downgrades software firm to 'sell' ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/203209/sage-group-shares-plummet-as-deutsche-bank-downgrades-software-firm-to-sell--203209.html Shares in software firm The Sage Group (LON:SAGE) plunged on Monday after Deutsche Bank downgraded the stock to a ‘sell’ rating from ‘hold’ and cut its target price to 540p from 630p.

Deutsche Bank said after speaking to a number of accountants and resellers across the UK, US and Australia, along with senior figures from key competitors Xero and Intuit, its key takeaway from these conversations is that the competitive situation in Sage's core mid-market franchise “appears to be worsening”.

READ: Sage Group's organic revenue growth picks-up

“Entry level players at far lower price points are moving upmarket and are building functionality either internally or through third-party platform partners,” the bank said.

“Higher-end competitors also appear to be gradually gaining share from Sage's core user and reseller base.

“We would highlight Microsoft as the stand out player here, with the Dynamics suite cited by Sage resellers as the most frequently seen competitor and furthermore, the Dynamics 365 SaaS suite grew at 56% at constant  currencies in the fourth quarter.”

Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 is a product line of enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management software applications.

In morning trading, shares in Sage fell 6.4% to 623p.

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Mon, 20 Aug 2018 08:52:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/203209/sage-group-shares-plummet-as-deutsche-bank-downgrades-software-firm-to-sell--203209.html
<![CDATA[News - Sage Group's organic revenue growth picks-up ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/202098/sage-group-s-organic-revenue-growth-picks-up-202098.html Organic revenue growth picked up in the fiscal third quarter at The Sage Group PLC (LON:SGE), the accountancy software giant.

The group’s like-for-like year-on-year revenue increased 6.8% in the third quarter, raising the growth rate for the first nine months of the trading year (which runs to the end of September) to 6.6%.

READ: Sage Group's first half profits fall as organic revenue growth misses expectations

The pick-up was welcomed by the City after the firm had disappointed in the second quarter with an organic growth rate of 8.3%. The shares were up 1.9% at 637.2p in mid-morning trading.

Software and software-related services (SSRS) revenue increased by 7.7% in the three months to the end of June from the same period of 2017, reflecting continued strong performance in training and services, offset by a decline in licence revenue as the business makes the transition to a subscription-based model.

"We have delivered acceleration in both organic and recurring revenue growth, demonstrating the impact of our primary focus on driving high-quality recurring revenue growth through Sage Business Cloud,” said Steve Hare, the chief financial officer of Sage.

The Sage Business Cloud’s annualised recurring revenue rose to £386mln, up from £336mln at the start of the quarter and up 56% year on year.

“We remain confident of achieving full year FY18 guidance of around 7% organic revenue growth and around 27.5% organic operating margin," Hare added.

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Thu, 02 Aug 2018 10:49:00 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/202098/sage-group-s-organic-revenue-growth-picks-up-202098.html
<![CDATA[RNS press release - Trading Update ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20180802070010_13740626/ Thu, 02 Aug 2018 07:00:10 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20180802070010_13740626/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Total Voting Rights ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20180801164344_13740382/ Wed, 01 Aug 2018 16:43:44 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20180801164344_13740382/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20180717163521_13721319/ Tue, 17 Jul 2018 16:35:21 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20180717163521_13721319/ <![CDATA[RNS press release - Holding(s) in Company ]]> https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20180710112313_13712281/ Tue, 10 Jul 2018 11:23:13 +0100 https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/rns/3348/LSE20180710112313_13712281/