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Sage Profit Rises More Than Predicted; Shares Surge

Sage Group Plc, the U.K.’s largest software maker, rose as much as 3.9 percent in London trading after full-year profit beat analyst expectations.

Net income increased 20 percent to 227.3 million pounds ($354.4 million), while sales were little changed at 1.44 billion pounds, the company said in an e-mailed statement today. Analysts predicted profit of 220.0 million pounds and sales of 1.43 billion pounds, according to a Bloomberg survey.

Shares surged as much as 10.1 pence to 267.4 pence, the biggest intraday increase since Sept. 28, and were up 3.3 percent at 265.7 pence as of 8:35 a.m.

Sage, which sells accounting and business software to small and medium-sized businesses, won new customers as it continued to expand outside the U.K. The company now generates less than 20 percent of sales outside its home market, “which helps manage risk and capture growth opportunities,” Sage said.

“While the economic outlook remains uncertain, we are seeing some signs of improving markets for our customers, although this varies by geography,” said Guy Berruyer, who became chief executive officer on Oct. 1.

The company proposed a final dividend increase of 5.22 pence per share, taking the proposed total dividend for the year to 7.80 pence per share from 7.43 pence per share a year earlier.

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