The Sage Group plc - Half-year trading update

(PresseBox) (Frankfurt am Main, ) The Sage Group plc ("Sage"), a leading supplier of accounting and business management software solutions and services for small to medium-sized enterprises ("SMEs"), is today providing an update on trading performance for the six months ended 31 March 2004. Full details of the Group's financial performance for the period will be provided in Sage's interim results announcement on 11 May 2004.

Pre-tax profit was ahead of expectations at approximately £87m, showing growth of 17% on the prior year period.

Group revenues were in line with expectations at approximately £332m, with revenue growth of 23%* on the prior year period.

The geographical presentation of financial results has been modified to reflect the addition and integration of new businesses into the Group. We have created one additional reporting unit, "Rest of World", which encompasses the South African and Asia-Pacific businesses of both the Softline and ACCPAC acquisitions, and our pre-existing CRM business. The new geographical analysis, including prior period comparatives, is shown in full at www.sage.com/News.htm

UK In the UK, revenues grew 7% to approximately £91m and the operating margin was approximately 40% (2003: 38%).

Mainland Europe In Mainland Europe, revenues grew 23%* to approximately £89m (2003: £72m*) and the operating margin was approximately 23% (2003: 21%).

The SP acquisition (Spain, October 2003) contributed revenues of approximately £12m, at an operating margin of approximately 20%.

North America North American revenues grew 21%* to approximately £136m (2003: £113m*) and the operating margin was approximately 23% (2003: 24%).

The Timberline acquisition (September 2003) contributed revenues of approximately £17m, at an operating margin of approximately 10%.

ACCPAC (acquired in March 2004) contributed total revenues of approximately £6m at an operating margin of approximately 7%. Of these revenues, approximately £4m, at an operating margin of approximately 11%, was generated in North America. The remainder of ACCPAC's contribution was in the other regions, and has been allocated accordingly within the Group results.

Rest of World This region principally comprises the South African, Australian and Far Eastern businesses of Softline (acquired in November 2003) and ACCPAC. Its revenues of approximately £16m generated an operating margin of approximately 16%.

Softline's total revenue was approximately £16m, with an operating margin of approximately 15%. Of these revenues, approximately £14m, at an operating margin of approximately 15%, was generated in the Rest of World region. The remainder of Softline's contribution was in North America, and has been allocated accordingly within the Group results.

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