United Kingdom tech giant Micro Focus halves in value as shares crash

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Micro Focus, the software company once lauded as a champion of Britain's technology industry, suffered yet another setback today after warning of a "greater than anticipated" decline in revenue following its acquisition of Hewlett Packard Enterprise's software business.

Micro Focus International PLC (LON:MCRO) shares hit the skids after saying chief executive Chris Hsu will step down and cutting its revenue guidance due to lower-than-expected licence income.

Micro Focus said it expects revenue to decline between six and nine per cent this year, in constant currency, compared with 2017. Stephen Murdoch, who serves now as the COO at Micro Focus will become the CEO.

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The company, however, moved to reassure investors that the impact on its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation was expected to be mitigated by the progress made in the cost reduction programme which was now tracking ahead of schedule. Micro Focus also expects net debt for the year to be in line with market expectations.

Micro Focus's executive chairman, Kevin Loosemore, said operational issues had led to a "disappointing short-term performance" but that he remained confident in the firm's strategy. This is a result of a "number" of factors, Micro Focus explained, including what it described as "largely one-off" transitional effects of the combination with HPE software "rather than underlying issues with the end market or the product portfolios".

In January Micro Focus slumped the most in nearly seven years after predicting falling sales and reporting revenue at its HPE Software business at the low end of its forecast range.

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"We believe that Micro Focus is well positioned to help our customers with the increasing pace of change across their Hybrid IT environments and to deliver customer centred innovation".

Stephen Murdoch most recently served as the company Chief Operating Officer and will assume his new role as CEO effective immediately.

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