Shares in UK life, pensions and mortgage systems supplier Marlborough Stirling have risen over 25% as the markets cheered a positive first half trading update.
The group says it expects total turnover for the six months ended 30 June 2003 to be over £54 million, towards the higher end of market expectations, with full-year visibility in the £100 million range.
While software and consultancy sales were below last year's levels, the results were boosted by a strong performance in outsourcing and portal services.
The markets were cheered by strong year on year growth in outsourcing activity, reflecting the commencement of contracts at Sun Life Financial of Canada contract in March 2002 and GE Pensions in the second half of 2002. The firm says a "significant proportion" of Sun Life policies have been ported to the Lamda platform, and the final migration of a further 250,000 policies remains on schedule to complete around the end of the third quarter this year.
Portal services also performed ahead of expectations with first half turnover similar to that achieved in the comparable period of 2002. The company says it has commenced work on a £3 million investment to develop full electronic trading over Exweb and that it has secured contractual support for quotation and business processing from Friends Provident, Scottish Equitable and Standard Life.
The company is reporting encouraging pipeline activity in software sales, with prospects for the Omiga product in Canada looking promising and strong interest in the new business module for straight-through processing of life and protection insurance products through the Lamda suite.
By mid-afternoon, shares in the company were standing at 34 pence, seven pence up on the previous day's close of 27 pence, but still some way off a year high of 124 pence.
Marlborough Stirling's share price nose-dived in September last year after the company issued a profits warning and reported technical problems in implementing the Sun Life deal.