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BT vs Sage: Where’s the spark?

Telecoms companies and payroll software providers should have had an excellent year, but growth at both BT and Sage remains slow.
BT vs Sage: Where’s the spark?
  • Sage revenues rose just 1 per cent in the six months to March 2021, despite lockdown demand for digital payroll software 
  • BT reported a decline in four of its five operating subsidiaries, but Openreach is thriving
  • Should these two companies be doing better considering the opportunities on offer in telecoms and digital software?

When the world went into lockdown in early 2020, investors looked to the US for the companies set to be the major beneficiaries. But many of us shrugged off their achievements: of course Zoom was going to thrive in an environment where everyone is working remotely. 

But capitalising on trends is not always easy. Just look at BT (BT.A) and Sage (SGE). Both of these companies’ recent financial results suggested that the pandemic fallout has been more of a hindrance than a help. On the face of it, that seems ludicrous: BT is a telecoms company which provides the infrastructure to connect everyone to each other (and their TVs); Sage offers digital accounting and payroll solutions to small and medium sized enterprises. The products and services offered by both businesses have been in huge demand in the last year. 

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