Updates from Sage, Johnson Matthey and A.G. Barr

Adrian Holliday
@category-dl, savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, @homepage-headlines, @homepage-dl, @homepage-news, cash, Sage, A.G.Barr, Johson Matthey
@category-dl, savings, tax, stockmarket, pensions, @homepage-headlines, @homepage-dl, @homepage-news, cash, Sage, A.G.Barr, Johson Matthey


A 40.7 point slip for the FTSE 100, ending Tuesday at 6,811.6. TUI AG and Weir Group took the pressure, down 3.3% and 2.8% respectively (to 1132p and 1640p respectively). Intertek Group also lost ground, down 2.7% to 2268p. In contrast, Centrica and BA owner IAG were buoyed 4.1% and 2.2% respectively. The Aer Lingus board has backed IAG's £1bn takeover bid.

A new Greek cabinet - formidable economics professor Yanis Varoufakis is sworn in as finance minister - didn't help US shares with the Dow Jones crumbling close to 300 points to 17,387.2.

We start with new numbers from accounting giant Sage. For the first three months of the year, group organic revenue is upped 5.3%. Sage says it remains on course to hit 6% organic revenue growth and 28% operating margin for 2015.

Organic software subscription revenue growth came in at 28.8%; Europe delivered particularly good growth on an established software subscription base says Sage, though there's still weakness from France and the US.

"I have been privileged," says new boss Stephen Kelly, "to meet many customers in my first 90 days with Sage. SME's are the growth engine of the economy worldwide and our performance attests to the enduring quality of our relationships."

Johnson Mattheynext (Goldman Sachs restated its Buy rating on the stock recently). The sustainable tech player says Q3 group sales climbed 5%; underlying profit before tax in the quarter increased to £96.5m (2013/14 £96m).

Its Emission Control Technologies (ECT) saw sales 9% ahead at £435m (2013/14 £397m). Operating profit was also up. Sales of light duty vehicle catalysts grew 5% to £266m, ahead of global car production, the company claims.

"The outlook," it says, "for the divisions in the current financial year remains unchanged from that given in our half-yearly report. Consequently, we continue to expect the group's underlying profit before tax in 2014/15 to be slightly ahead of 2013/14."

Lastly, some fizz from IRN-BRU maker A.G. Barr. It claims trading performance for the final quarter is expected see growth of 5%-plus. Full year revenue is expected to be around £259m, with year-on-year growth of 2%.

A.G. Barr says the Commonwealth Games sponsorship was a sales boost; action has been taken to manage costs across the business it adds, including avoidance of aggressive price promotion in the second half.

"We are cautiously optimistic," says Barr, "regarding the new financial year and at this point expect to see further growth and development across the Company, despite the challenging operating environment and market conditions."

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