Sage's growth outstrips forecasts

The accounting software firm grew its revenue by 23 percent during the past six months

Accounting and business software group Sage has announced booming results, beating analysts' expectations.

The Newcastle-based group's six-month trading statement reported revenue growth worldwide of 23 percent to £332m and profits up 17 percent to £87m.

Revenue growth for the UK's most successful software company was strongest in North America and Europe, at 21 and 23 percent respectively. In its UK base, revenue was up only 7 percent -- a figure that would still make many other companies happy -- to £91m.

The company's operating margin grew to 40 percent in the UK, where it has almost saturated the SME accountancy software market.

Sage is the top success story of British software. Starting from its base in accountancy, the company has assembled a range of SME business management software which it successfully sells worldwide. It is in the Footsie 100 of top UK companies by market capitalisation.

In the US, the burial ground of so many other British software companies, it trades under the Best Software label and has made 15 acquisitions in the past six years totalling about $1.4bn.

North American revenues for the six months were £136m. Sage reports in sterling.