May 2, 2018 / 11:26 AM / a year ago

Software group Sage tackles sales issues, confident of targets

LONDON, May 2 (Reuters) - British software company Sage said it was getting to grips with the sales execution problems that hampered its first-half performance and it was “very confident” of meeting its revised targets.

The company, whose software is used by millions of small businesses worldwide, downgraded its full-year organic revenue growth forecast last month to about 7 percent from about 8 percent, hitting its shares by as much as 20 percent.

“There was some inconsistency in sales execution, but it was very isolated and the issues are being tackled,” chief financial officer Steve Hare said in an interview.

“It was parts of northern Europe - the UK - West Africa and the Middle East.

“That is all reflected in the plan for the second half and we are very confident about achieving our guidance of around 7 percent revenue growth for the year.”

Sage reported 6.3 percent organic revenue growth for the six-months to end-March, and an organic operating margin of 24.5 percent, which analysts said were in-line with its revised guidance.

The company’s shares were trading 1 percent higher at 642 pence at 1051 GMT.

Analysts at Citi said execution across most large regions was solid, and “swift corrective” action had been taken to fix the isolated issues.

Reporting by Paul Sandle. Editing by Jane Merriman

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