Don't pay too much attention to the double-digit growth in sales and profit at Micro Focus International (MCRO) in the reported period. Adjusting for currency movements and assuming the acquired Serena had always been part of the group, revenue inched up 1 per cent. However, management's cost-cutting and restructuring served to widen margins, boosting comparable cash profit by 8 per cent to $333m (£262m).
Licensing and consultancy sales from the group's flagship COBOL solutions, which help organisations squeeze value out of older computers and IT equipment, surged more than 30 per cent. But both revenue streams shrunk in the other four subdivisions of the core Micro Focus business, meaning its underlying turnover slid 4 per cent. More positively, strong subscription growth drove underlying sales and operating profit up more than a fifth in the SUSE division, which provides technical support and updates for its open source solutions.