Misys soars as head of banking arm quits

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The Independent Online

Misys shares jumped 8 per cent yesterday after the mid-cap software maker reassured investors that its core banking division was recovering.

The group announced the departure of Ivan Martin, the chief executive of the Misys Banking Systems division, which was responsible for a profits warning in September. Misys's chief executive Kevin Lomax will take his place until the company finds a successor.

Shares in Misys closed up 17.25p at 231.25p, topping the FTSE 250 leader board, as the company reported a 10 per cent rise in core banking-sector sales in the first half. Health care like-for-like sales grew 5 per cent in the six months to 30 November.

Kevin Ashton, an analyst at Bridgewell, said the numbers were better than expected, and he welcomed Mr Martin's departure. "While we do not know the circumstances, any change is good in this troubled division," he said.

Bear Stearns and Deutsche Bank saw Mr Martin's departure as a negative, while Cazenove analysts speculated the move might be linked to the banking division's unexpected profits warning in September. Misys lost about one-fifth of its market value after the warning, falling to 187.75p.

The company said it expected adjusted basic earnings per share to be in the range of 6p to 6.5p per share compared with 6.8p last year.

Misys said its general insurance business was performing well, with revenues and operating margin in line with last year's figures. Its Sesame division, which provides support services to about 7,800 financial advisers in the UK, generated a 13 per cent increase in revenues, with operating profits ahead of expectations. Mr Ashton said it was "a set of results well above market expectations, and we expect the stock to run further on related upgrades".