SOFTWARE company Sage Group has reported solid trading results but bosses say they remain cautious over the economic outlook.

The Newcastle-based company revealed its UK and Ireland business had grown during the first quarter, but conditions across Europe were more challenging.

The report said trading across all regions was in line with expectations, with strong performances during the second half of 2012 in North America and good growth in Brazil.

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The company, which bought Empresa Brasiliera de Sistemas (EBS) for £10.5m in October last year, said its Africa, Australian and Middle-East arm continued to perform well.

Its share buyback programme saw 32.4m shares re-purchased for £99.3m.

Net debt on December 31 2012 was £212.7m compared with £161.5m on September 30 2012.

Guy Berruyer, chief executive, said: “Economic conditions for our customers are challenging across our markets and we remain particularly watchful of the uncertain market environment in mainland Europe.

However, the strong fundamentals of our business model and our continued progress in executing against our strategy, underpins our confidence in the future growth prospects of the business.”