O'Grady takes extra role at Micro Focus

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The Independent Online
PAUL O'GRADY, chairman of Micro Focus, has taken on the additional role of chief executive at the computer software company after pre-tax profits and earnings in dollars flattened off in the first half, writes Topaz Amoore.

Mr O'Grady said he was determined to re-establish earnings growth in dollars as well as pounds at Micro Focus, which has been a highlight of the depressed electronics sector. The shares, which in February hit pounds 29.98, closed up 2p at pounds 18.12.

The company specialises in developing software in Cobol for main- frame-based computer users. The stock is traded in London and on New York's Nasdaq market and results are given in both currencies.

Calculated in dollars, profits before tax edged down from dollars 17.6m to dollars 17.4m in the six months to 31 July. Earnings were unchanged at dollars 0.80 on turnover up by 11 per cent. Its cash pile was unchanged at dollars 80m ( pounds 53m) but the company does not pay dividends.

In sterling terms, pre-tax profit rose by 21 per cent to pounds 11.6m because the pound was weak when compared with the same period in 1992.

'I feel we can boost sales by turning around our decision-making more quickly,' Mr O'Grady said. 'The management committee will report to me instead of the board. Our sales process is going to change. I would like to develop more intimate relationships at a higher level within companies concerned.'

Sales to computer manufacturers slowed down in Europe but perked up in Japan, with renewed interest from big customers such as Fujitsu, Mitsubishi and Toshiba.