British software maker Sage Group Plc reported a 20 percent rise in pretax profit for the full year and the company boosted its final dividend by 6 percent.

The provider of business management software to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) said it saw a return to organic revenue growth in the second half and improving market for software and software-related services.

While the economic outlook remains uncertain, we are seeing some signs of improving markets for our customers, although this varies by geography. Together, these factors have contributed to the revenue momentum we have seen in the second half of the year, Guy Berruyer, who became the company's chief executive on Oct. 1, said.

The company, which added 252,000 customers in the year, said support contract renewals were maintained at 81 percent.

For the full year ended Sept. 30, the company's pretax profit increased to 319.9 million pounds from 267.4 million pounds last year. Revenue was flat at 1.43 billion pounds ($2.22 billion).

On an organic basis, software and software-related services revenue fell 4 percent compared with a 16 percent contraction last year, Sage said.
Software and software-related services revenue rose 2 percent in the second half versus a 8 percent fall in the first half.

Region wise, revenue in the U.K. rose 3 percent, while revenue in North America fell 4 percent.

Sage, with 6.3 million customers worldwide, said its focus is on improving organic revenue growth, particularly in North America, where the business environment for SMEs remains challenging.

Sage lifted its final dividend by 6 percent to 5.22 pence, taking the total dividend for the year to 7.80 pence from 7.43 pence last year.

Shares of the company ended Tuesday's regular trading session at 257.30 pence on the London Stock Exchange.