- Software company Sage Group booked a slight fall in first-half adjusted earnings after rising sales were offset by weaker margins.

Pre-tax profit for the six months through March rose 16% to £198m, up from £171m on-year.

Adjusted profit, however, fell slightly to £205m, down from £208m on-year. Adjusted profit excluded one-off items such as acquisitions costs.

Revenue rose 4.6% to £957m and operating margin fell 1.9% percentage points to 22.7%.

Sage declared an interim dividend of 5.79p per share, up 2.5% on-year.

The company said it expected annual recurring revenue growth to be at the top end or slightly above its 8-9% guidance range.

However, it also expected SSRS and processing revenue to be at the lower end or below the guided range of flat to mid-single digit decline.

Overall, expectations for full year total revenue remained unchanged and Sage maintained its organic operating profit margin guidance of 23-25%.

'We are encouraged by the strong start to the 2019 financial year,' chief executive Steve Hare said.

'Sage's vision is to become a great SaaS company and by focusing on customers, colleagues and innovation we are starting to see evidence of successful strategic execution.'

'This is reflected in the strong performance in high quality recurring revenue, underpinned by subscription in the first half of the year.'

We will continue to focus on driving high-quality recurring and subscription revenue in the second half of the year.'

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