Xero Shares Head for Biggest Gain in Almost 30 Months as Customers Double

Xero Ltd. is headed for its biggest gain in almost 30 months in Wellington trading after the New Zealand accounting software developer said it has more than doubled customers in the past year.

The company has 22,000 customers from 10,000 a year ago, Chairman Phil Norman told the annual meeting in Wellington late yesterday. The stock surged as much as 17 percent, its biggest gain since Feb. 7, 2008.

Xero is expanding its software offer in Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. where it will be active later this year, Norman said in a statement sent to the stock exchange. It expects its monthly accounts to break even at some point in the second half of 2011, as previously forecast, he said.

Director Sam Morgan increased his stake to 4.9 percent by buying shares from founders Rod Drury and Hamish Edwards, the company said yesterday. The two founders don’t plan to sell further stock until the company achieves break even.

Xero rose 19 cents, or 13 percent, to NZ$1.60 at 11:30 a.m. in Wellington.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tracy Withers in Wellington at twithers@bloomberg.net.

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