Sage Group

Sage Group
The Sage Group plc
Type Public limited company
Traded as LSESGE
Industry Computer software
Founded 1981
Founder(s) David Goldman
Paul Muller
Graham Wylie
Headquarters Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Number of locations Offices in 24 countries
Area served Worldwide
Key people Tony Hobson (Chairman)
Guy Berruyer (CEO)
Products Accounting,
Varying according to country, MRP
Revenue £1,435.0 million (2010)[1]
Operating income £330.0 million (2010)[1]
Profit £227.3 million (2010)[1]
Employees 13,400 (2010)[2]

The Sage Group plc (LSESGE), commonly known as Sage, is a global enterprise software company headquartered in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. It is the world's third-largest supplier of enterprise resource planning software (behind Oracle and SAP), the largest supplier to small businesses, and has 6.1 million customers worldwide.[3] It has offices in 24 countries and its products and services are available in more than 160 countries.[1] It was the patron of The Sage Gateshead music venue in Newcastle upon Tyne.[4]

It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.



Early history

The Company was founded by David Goldman together with Paul Muller and Graham Wylie in 1981 in Newcastle upon Tyne to develop estimating and accounting software for small businesses.[5]

A student at Newcastle University, Graham Wylie, took a summer job with an accountancy firm funded by a government small business grant to write software to help their record keeping. This became the basis for Sage Line 50. Next, hired by David Goldman to write some estimating software for his printing company, Campbell Graphics, Graham used the same accounting software to produce the first version of Sage Accounts. David was so impressed he hired Graham and academic Paul Muller to form Sage, selling their software first to printing companies, but then to a wider market through a network of resellers.[6]

In 1984 the Company launched Sage software, a product for the Amstrad PCW word processor,[5] which used the CP/M operating system. Sage software sales escalated in that year from 30 copies a month to over 300.[5] The Company was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1989.[5]

Appointment of Paul Walker as CEO

In 1994 Paul Walker was appointed Chief Executive. In 1998 Sage’s Professional Accountants Division was established. In 1999 Sage entered FTSE 100[5] and launched a dedicated Irish division, based in Dublin as well as its e-business strategy. In that same year the UK acquisition of Tetra saw Sage enter the mid-range business software market.[7]

In 2000 Sage shares were named ‘best performing share of the 90s’ in the UK business press.[8] In 2001 Sage acquired Interact Commerce Inc.[9] and entered the CRM/contact management market and in 2002 Sage won 'Business of The Year' in National Business Awards.[10] Also that year Sage sponsored the new Music Centre in Gateshead for £6m - now known as The Sage Gateshead - the largest ever UK arts/business sponsorship.[11] By 2003 Sage was the only remaining technology stock in the FTSE 100 Index. In 2003 at age 43 Graham Wylie retired with 108.5 million shares in Sage worth £146m. He was rated Britain's 109th richest person in the 2002 Sunday Times' rich list.[6]

Appointment of Guy Berruyer as CEO

On 19 April 2010, Sage announced that its CEO, Paul Walker, had indicated an interest in stepping down from his position, which he had held for 16 years.[12] The Financial Times reported that his departure would lead to speculation over Sage’s mergers and acquisitions, which have been a key component to the group’s growth in the past 20 years. In an interview with The Times, the CEO of Sage's UK business stated that: "Acquisitions are part of our DNA".[13]

Walker was one of the longest serving CEOs of a FTSE100 company, only exceeded by Sir Martin Sorrell at WPP and Tullow Oil's Aidan Heavey.[14] According to the Daily Mail, Walker is likely to have left Sage with as much as £21 million given his shares, bonus plan and salary.[15] Walker left the company on 1 December 2010.[16]

On 1 October 2010 Guy Berruyer became CEO of Sage Group; Berruyer had previously been CEO of Sage's Mainland Europe & Asia operations.[16]


Founded and headquartered in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, the company initially grew organically, but more recently has grown primarily through acquisitions. In 2004 the company's new headquarters was completed in the North Park area of Newcastle upon Tyne. It now operates worldwide. The company's US headquarters are in Irvine, California, the Canadian headquarters are in Richmond, Canada and the French and Continental European headquarters are in Paris, France.

Sage has 6.1 million customers and 13,400 employees across the world. Key industry focus includes: Healthcare; HR & Payroll; Construction/ Real-Estate; Transport/ Distribution; Payment Processing; Accountancy; Not-for-Profit; Manufacturing; Retail; Automotive Distribution.[17]

Financial Information

In the year to September 2009, Sage reported revenues of £1,439 million, an 11% increase in reported revenues and 4% decline in organic revenues (adjusting for currency moves and acquisitions). The company's profit margin (defines as EBITA, earnings before interest, tax and amortisation) fell 1% to 22% for the 2009 year & adjusted pre-tax profit was £308 million.[18] Sage reported that 55% of its revenue came from the Accounting sector with 26% from Industry-specific customers, 10% from HR & payroll, 5% from payment processing and 4% from CRM. Net debt stood at £439m at the end of September 2009 with a net debt to EBITDA ratio of 1.3 times.

Sept year-end, £ millions 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Revenue 552 560 688 760 936 1,158 1,295 1,439 1,435
Reported growth n/a n/a n/a n/a +12% +30% +7% +11% 0%
Underlying growth n/a n/a n/a n/a +7% +7% +3% -4% -1%
EBITA n/a n/a n/a 202 249 283 300 321 365
Pre-Tax Profit 129 151 181 194 221 223 241 267 319

In the year to September 2009, Europe represented the largest region by revenues generating £763 million and an EBITA profit of £192 million. This compares with the North American divisions revenues of £576 million and EBITA profit of £105 million with the rest of the world generating revenues of £100 million and EBITA profit of £24 million. Within Europe, the Mainland European division run by Guy Berruyer dominates on a revenues and profit basis generating circa 70% of all European revenues and circa 60% of profits.[19]

Board of Directors

Sage's board of directors consists of 10 individuals with 6 non-executive independent directors including the chairman.

Name (Alphabetically) Title Executive/Non-Executive
Guy Berruyer Chief Executive Executive
David Clayton Director of Strategy and Corporate Development Executive
Paul Harrison Group Finance Director Executive
Tony Hobson Chairman Non-executive Director
Tim Ingram Senior Independent Non-executive Director
Tamara Ingram Independent Non-executive Director
Ruth Markland Independent Non-executive Director
Ian Mason Independent Non-executive Director
Mark Rolfe Independent Non-executive Director

The Chairman, Tony Hobson is the Chairman of Northern Foods plc[20] and a non-executive director of Glas Cymru (Welsh Water) and eSure. He is also Chairman of the Trustees of Changing Faces, the leading UK disfigurement charity. He is a Chartered Accountant and an MBA and was previously Group Finance Director of Legal & General Group plc for 14 years retiring in 2001. He joined the Board in June, 2004 and became Chairman in May 2007.[21]


The company's product set can be divided into: Accounting; Payroll; Customer Relationship Management (CRM); Financial forecasting; Payment processing; Job costing; Human Resources; Business intelligence; Taxation and other products for accountants; Business stationery; Development platforms; E-business; Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

Sage's products include:

  • Abel Enterprise [Spain]
  • Abra HRMS [US]
  • Accounts Production (Apex Accounts Production)
  • Accounts Production Advanced
  • Accpac ERP [US]
  • ACT! by Sage
  • ACT! by Sage [Australia]
  • Best Practice [Australia]
  • Billing Boss
  • BOB 50
  • Business Intelligence Enterprise Edition
  • BusinessVision
  • BusinessWorks
  • Classic Line
  • Construction Solutions
  • ContaPlus
  • Corporation Tax (Powered by Abacus)
  • Sage 50 Accounts (Line 50) [UK]
  • Sage 50 Payroll [UK]
  • Sage 50 P11d [UK]
  • Sage 200 (MMS) [UK]
  • Sage 1000 [UK]
  • Sage Accpac ERP [Australia]
  • Sage Accpac Pro Series [Australia]
  • Sage BI (IntelligentApps for Line 200, Line 500) [UK]
  • Sage Coretime [Ireland][UK]
  • Sage CRM [Australia]
  • Sage ERP X3 [Australia]
  • Sage One
  • Sage SalesLogix [Australia]
  • Sage Timberline Office [Australia]
  • DacEasy [US]
  • Document Manager [Australia]
  • FacturaPlus
  • Facturfacil
  • FAS Fixed Assets [US]
  • Financial Forecaster [UK]
  • Forte [Poland]
  • Geode X3 [Spain]
  • GS-Programme
  • HandiAsset [Australia]
  • HandiBiz [Australia]
  • HandiLedger [Australia]
  • HandiRegister [Australia]
  • HandiSecurity [Australia]
  • HandiSoft [Australia]
  • HandiTax [Australia]
  • HandiTrust [Australia]
  • Intelligent Reporting (IntelligentApps) [UK]
  • Intergy
  • Jehlen Manage Right package
  • Legend
  • Ligne 30 [France]
  • Ligne 100 [France]
  • Ligne 500 (Ciel) [France]
  • Ligne 1000 [France]
  • Line 100 (Sovereign)[UK]
  • Line 200 (Sage C/S)[UK]
  • Line 500 (Chameleon, Chameleon 2000, CS/3, Enterprise)[UK]
  • Logic Class
  • Sage ERP X3 (Adonix) [France]
  • Sage Instant Accounts [UK]
  • Sage Instant Payroll [UK]
  • MainLAN
  • MAS 90 [US]
  • MAS 200 [US]
  • MAS 500 [US]
  • Master Builder [US]
  • Master Production Schedule [US]
  • Medical Manager [US]
  • MicrOpay e-HR [Australia]
  • MicrOpay Ingenuity [Australia]
  • MicrOpay Meridian [Australia]
  • MicrOpay Outsourcing [Australia]
  • MicrOpay Payroll [Australia]
  • MIP Fund Accounting
  • My Business
  • NominaPlus
  • Office Line
  • Pastel Evolution [South Africa]
  • Pastel Partner [South Africa]
  • PayPoint ePOS [UK]
  • Payroll Services
  • PC-Kaufmann [Germany]
  • Peachtree Accounting [US]
  • PFW (Platinum for Windows) [US]
  • Sage My Business online [Australia]
  • Sage Pocket [India]
  • Practice Manager [Australia]
  • Practice Solution
  • Practice Suite [UK]
  • Premier Plus [UK]
  • Prestige [UK]
  • Pro ERP
  • ProvideX
  • PymePlus
  • Sage CRM (Accpac CRM, MME, MH)
  • Sage Start Up [UK]
  • SalesLogix [US]
  • Simply Accounting [US] (Formerly Bedford Software)
  • Softline VIP [South Africa]
  • SnowdropKCS
  • Symfonia [Poland]
  • Take Five, Accounting & Payroll [Ireland]
  • TAS [UK]
  • Taxation
  • Tetra 2000 [UK]
  • Tetraplan [UK]
  • Timberline Office [US]
  • Time+Billing [Australia]
  • Timeslips
  • TPVplus
  • V-ISAM database
  • Wage Easy [Australia]
  • XRT Treasury [Spain]


According to the June 2009 Worldwide ERP survey by the Gartner Group, Sage had a 9% market share of total global ERP software revenues in 2008. With SAP, Oracle, Microsoft and Infor representing the major competition.[22][23] In the Gartner article, the ERP market was estimated to be worth $23.8 billion in revenues in 2008 and $24.5 billion in 2009. However, an analysis by IDC in October 2006 of the small business market estimated Sage's market share at 21% versus Microsoft's 12%, Oracle's 9%, Intuit's 6% and SAP's 3%. A major part of the small business ERP market, 49%, is served by other providers.

Sage is increasingly seeing competition from web-based or cloud solutions from companies including Intacct, NetSuite and SAP.[24][25]


The Sage Gateshead music venue, located on the banks of the River Tyne, is named after the company.

The Sage Group is a patron of The Sage Gateshead, a Tyneside music venue designed by Sir Norman Foster. The Sage Gateshead was completed in 2004 at a cost of £70 million, and has since become a main sight on the River Tyne. It is primarily used for hosting music concerts, but is also used for other events including conferences.[11]

In 2008 Sage funded the revival of The Krypton Factor television series for ITV 1 as a part of the Business Brain Training campaign.[26]

See also

Factory 1b.svg Companies portal


  1. ^ a b c d "Annual Report and Accounts 2010". The Sage Group plc. 2010-12-01. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  2. ^ "About Us". The Sage Group plc. Retrieved 3 September 2010. 
  3. ^ "Competitive Profile". The Sage Group plc. Retrieved 2010-09-03. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Arts funding in recession". Incorporated Society of Musicians. Retrieved 2010-09-03. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "History". Sage. Retrieved 2010-10-30. 
  6. ^ a b Vaughan-Adams, Liz (2003-04-12). "Sage founder retires at 43 to get married and enjoy his £146m fortune". The Independent on Sunday (London). Retrieved 2009-03-15. 
  7. ^ "Sage buys Tetra". London: The Independent. 1999-03-02. Retrieved 2010-10-30. 
  8. ^ "Sage looks risky in an uncertain business climate". [dead link]
  9. ^ Sage buys Interact Commerce
  10. ^ "Business of the year 2002". Red Hot Curry. 2002-10-29. Archived from the original on 2004-04-04. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  11. ^ a b "Software sages of Newcastle". Global Technology Forum. 2007-04-23. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  12. ^ Walker to step down as Sage chief executive
  13. ^ "Business big shot: Paul Stobart". London: The Times. 2010-04-20. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  14. ^ "Sage CEO Paul Walker to stand down after 26 years at company". London: Daily Mail. 2010-04-19. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  15. ^ Duke, Simon (2010-04-19). "Sage chief Paul Walker is set to exit with £21m". London: Daily Mail. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  16. ^ a b "Group Chief Executive". Sage Group plc. 2010-07-06. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  17. ^ Reuters profile of Sage
  18. ^ "Annual Report 2009". Sage. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  19. ^ "Performance Summary 2009". Sage. Retrieved 2010-10-31. 
  20. ^ "The Board". Northern Foods plc. Retrieved 2011-09-18. 
  21. ^ Directors' Biographies
  22. ^ "Business Software and Services". Sage Group plc. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  23. ^ "Magic Quadrant for Midmarket and Tier 2-Oriented ERP for Product-Centric Companies". Gartner. 2009-06-04. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  24. ^ SaaS 2.0 - "More Sage Insights"
  25. ^ "Press Release - NetSuite's Sage Switch Program Offers Sage Customers Major Discount to Embrace NetSuite Cloud". NetSuite. 2009-03-04. Retrieved 2010-11-04. 
  26. ^ "The Krypton Factor". Business Brain Training. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 

External links

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