The UK’s biggest technology company, Sage Group, jumped towards the top of the FTSE after revealing software subscriptions rose by nearly 50 per cent in the six months to the end of March.
The global accounting and payroll firm said it is ‘very confident’ of beating full-year growth expectations and had taken in more than 1.2m software subscription contracts over the period.
Profits rose 32 per cent to £180mililon, while revenue rose 5.7 per cent – just under its 6 per cent full-year target.
It marks a change of pace for the Newcastle-based firm, which saw its shares crash in January following a disappointing performance in its US payments business. Shares yesterday rose 3.4 per cent, or 23.5p, to 707p.
Tech boost: Sage Group said it is ‘very confident’ of beating full-year growth expectations and had taken in more than 1.2m software subscription contracts over the period
Shares in education business Pearson were up 1.7 per cent, or 11p, to 656.5p, a welcome respite for the firm which has struggled to recover since tanking almost 10 per cent last month after being downgraded by broker Liberum.
Yesterday’s rise came as bosses announced an expanded partnership with a US university which will see it launch three new graduate degree programmes.
The day before they unveiled a tie-up with another US university to launch three new online master’s degree programmes.
But the company is unlikely to rest on its laurels. It is due to hold its AGM later this week against a backdrop of criticism over its decision to give chief executive John Fallon a 20 per cent pay rise for 2016, to £1.5million, despite the company’s £2.6billion annual loss.
The FTSE 100 fell 0.2 per cent, or 15.52 points, to 7234.53, weighed down by miners which were hit by falling copper prices.
Centamin was crowned the FTSE 250’s second-biggest loser after reporting a 28 per cent drop in profits over the first three months of the year.
Cyber-security firm Osirium Technologies sank after revenue growth for the 14 months to December 31 was slower than expected.
The business makes technology which prevents gadgets and software from being hit by cyber-attacks.
Chief executive David Guyatt said revenues suffered as recruitment took longer than expected after the firm listed last April but that it is now seeing signs of significant progress.
The gold miner reported profits of £22.9million for the first quarter, with production down 13 per cent on the same period last year.
As previously highlighted by the firm, it has spent the past three months digging out an area of its Sukari gold mine in Egypt, sacrificing part of its first-quarter production to increase the rest of the year’s output.
As a result, full-year production estimates were held at 540,000 ounces.
Panmure Gordon analysts said the figures should not shock investors as Centamin had already warned of a drop in profits. Shares fell 5.9 per cent, or 10.3p, to 163.2p.
Card Factory edged up after Peel Hunt rewarded its strong performance this year with a ‘buy’ rating. Analysts at the broker said the business is likely to see ‘much more’ momentum due to a commitment to keeping prices lower than competitors.
This comes despite it revealing strong full-year profits of £398.2million at the end of March, up from £381.6million the year before.
Peel Hunt said the firm is in ‘great shape’ and called its 8 per cent dividend yield a ‘gift’. Shares rose 0.2 per cent, or 0.6p, to 332.1p.
InnovaDerma’s shares continued to storm forward as the life sciences firm announced a distribution deal with online retailer Asos for its Skinny Tan product.
The self-tan product went on sale in Superdrug in February last year.
In January, Innova said the product was largely responsible for its 80 per cent year-on-year sales growth.
The deal will see Skinny Tan sold on Asos’s website from June and marketed and distributed globally.
InnovaDerma has seen shares rally 45 per cent over the past month.
This has been helped in part by its acquisition of Ergon Medical, the manufacturers of Prolong, the world’s only FDA-cleared medical device used to treat premature ejaculation.
Shares rose 17.4 per cent, or 35p, hitting a four-month high of 236.5p.