Micro Focus International plc Beats Previous Guidance

micro focusThe share price of Micro Focus International (LSE: MCRO) —  the multinational software and information technology company based in Newbury, Berkshire — is up over 5% so far today, following publication of its preliminary results for the full year to 30 April 2014. 

The company said that group revenue was up 6,4% which is marginally above the top-end of previous guidance, with revenue excluding this year’s acquisitions up 4.9% . Like-for-like revenue, excluding acquisitions made in the last two years, was down by 0.4% over the year, but did grow by 2.2% in the second half, with 5.4% growth in licence fee revenue.  (All figures on a constant currency basis.)

Diluted earnings per share grew by 9.5%, to 82.35 cents, with the adjusted figure up 14.9%, to 97.48 cents. The company said that it’s proposing a 6.8% increase in the final dividend, at 30 cents per share. That will bring the total dividend for the year to 44 cents per share, an increase of 10% over the previous year.

Micro Focus also reported that it had returned 60p (93.3 cents) per share in cash to shareholders in November 2013, at a total cost of $140.2m (£82.3m), and that since March 2011 it has returned a total of £424.3m in cash to shareholders through share buy-backs, dividends and returns of value. The company also stated its intention — barring a significant acquisition, another share buy-back or unforeseen circumstances — to make a further return of value to shareholders in November 2014.

Commenting  on the results, Kevin Loosemore, Executive Chairman of Micro Focus, said:

We continue to believe that with low single digit revenue growth our industry leading margins and strong cash conversion are able to deliver shareholder returns of 15% to 20% per annum. … We believe that by continuing to execute our business strategy and financial model Micro Focus is positioned to continue to provide shareholders with returns in the coming years.

At 877.5p, Micro Focus’s share price is now up 13.6% on the year so far, comfortably outstripping the FTSE 100’s 1.2% rise.  And whilst it’s only just beaten the index over five years (62% v. 57%), long-term shareholders will be happy with Micro Focus’s 368% gain over ten years, compared to the FTSE 100’s mere 40%.

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Jon doesn't own shares in Micro Focus International. The Motley Fool has recommended shares in Micro Focus.