SOURCE: Best Software

May 10, 2005 09:13 ET

Best Software's Customer-Focused Initiatives Drive Strong Revenue Growth for First Half 2005

IRVINE, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 10, 2005 -- Best Software, Inc. announced today that its UK-based parent company, the Sage Group plc, reported revenues of $722.8 million for the half-year ended March 31, 2005, an increase of 17%* over the same prior year period. Pre-tax profit for the period was $190.6 million, an increase of 16%* over the prior year period.

Worldwide, the company added 149,000 customers, bringing its global total to 4.5 million businesses, excluding Customer Relationship Management ("CRM") customers.

Total revenue for the Sage Group's North American business, Best Software, for the half-year ended March 31, 2005 was $294.3 million, an increase of 21%* compared to the first half last year. Organic revenue growth was 7%*. Operating income increased to 24%* from 23%* in the first half last year. Best Software has more than 2.4 million North American customers (excluding CRM).

"Our deep understanding of the needs of small and mid-sized businesses continues to drive our success, and these latest results strongly underscore the value of those relationships," said Best Software President and CEO Ron Verni. "Sage is the world revenue leader among software vendors focused solely on business software applications for small and mid-size businesses. Our vision of providing global reach with local touch is proving itself as the right model for serving our customers well."

In the first half of fiscal 2005, Best Software extended its customer-focused initiatives with the November 2004 acquisition of Dallas-based FLS Inc. that enables the company to offer customers extensive online tax compliance services; the launch of 19 new versions of its award- winning accounting, operations, CRM, and other end-to-end business management applications; and new corporate branding programs supporting the company's "Your Business in Mind" philosophy. Best Software also augmented its unique approach to partnering with its network of 6,900 reselling business partners by delivering its 100-in-100 Partners for Growth program that provided a $1 million dollar infusion to help business partners select, hire, and train new sales staff.

In March 2005, the Sage Group plc announced a plan to resume use of the Sage name and mark in North America, enabling Sage to better leverage its worldwide strengths. Best Software will begin adopting the Sage name in various marketing programs beginning this month at the company's Insights 2005 business partner conference being held May 17-20 in Dallas. Sage is the global leader in delivering business management software for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), with worldwide revenue of $US 1.238 billion (£687.6 million) in its latest fiscal year ended September 30, 2004.

*Foreign currency results for the period ended March 31, 2004 have been retranslated based on the average exchange rates for the six months ended March 31, 2005 to facilitate the comparison of results. The translation rate is 1.89 U.S. dollars per GBP.

About Best Software/The Sage Group plc

Best Software offers leading business management products and services that support the needs, challenges and dreams of more than 2.4 million small and mid-sized customers in North America. Its parent company, The Sage Group plc (London: SGE.L), supports 4.5 million customers worldwide. For more than 25 years, Best Software has delivered easy-to-use, scalable and customizable applications through its portfolio of leading brands, including Abra, ACCPAC, ACT!, BusinessWorks, CPASoftware, FAS, MAS 90, MAS 200, MAS 500, MIP, Peachtree, SalesLogix, and Timberline Office, among many others. For more information, please visit the Web site at or call (866) 308-BEST.

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