Sanderson, the Coventry software and IT services company that came to the AIM market in December, 2004, yesterday reported an encouraging recovery in the early months of this year from a slowdown in spending by its manufacturing customers last autumn.
This setback hit the share price, which tumbled below the original striking price of 50p after reaching a peak of 76p earlier last year.
Yesterday, after reassuring results for the six months to March and a confident chairman's statement, they picked up 2p to 441/2p after touching an all-time low earlier in the week.
These first full interim results since Sanderson's flotation indicate that the revival since December has made good most of the ground lost in the first quarter of the 2005/06 year.
A pretax profit of £283,000 stands against a £1.024 million loss this time last year - though that included £1 million of flotation costs. An adjusted operating profit - leaving out the notional cost of a long-term incentive plan as well as goodwill amortisation - came out at £1.233 million, down from £1.317 million on sales nearly six per cent adrift at £7.435 million.
Sanderson's gross margin was six per cent better and recurring revenues from existing contracts accounted for 56 per cent of all sales. But after tax there was still a bottom-line loss of £77,000.
A 1.1p interim dividend is the same as last year - when Sanderson was quoted for only three months.
Christopher Winn, executive chairman, insisted: "Shareholders thought we were very generous last time," he said.
"The board is encouraged by the trading performance of the group in the second quarter to March 31, and there is a strong pipeline of sales prospects entering the second half-year, some of which have already been converted into firm orders," Mr Winn stated.