That's City analysts as well as investors. The share price, at £12.19, may be down from July highs of £14.37 but appears to be building optimism for the company's future prospects, and those of its share price. Part of that is down to edging ever closer to what many Micro Focus (MCRO) experts reckon will be a new wave of high returns, special dividends are already being pencilled in for next year to end April 2017.

Remember, this a company that has a long track record for total return wins for shareholders. Operating efficiencies pep the corporate performance up, fuelling capital gains for the stock, but Micro Focus has also been a serial buybacks and special payouts play.

If you'd bought the stock 10 years ago you would have earned more from normal and one-off payouts than the shares cost you in the first place:

1,000 shares bought Sep'05 = £1,223.68

Payouts '05-'15 = £1,490.5

1,000 shares value now = £12,210

Total return '05-'15 = 1,019%

The ambitious $2.35 billion (£1.5 billion) merger with US peer Attachmate has put that amazing returns story on temporary hold, but that deal itself looks increasingly vital and valuable to Micro Focus's future.

software code 4

'We too did a double take when IBM debuted a brace of Linux only mainframes on 17 August,' says Panmure Gordon tech expert George O'Connor. 'To be sure circa 30% of the mainframes shipping today run at least some Linux software, and SUSE and IBM have been working together for more than twenty years, but the Linux-only hue was a surprise,' he admits.

SUSE is part of Attachmate, and the US firm is an expert Linux developer, part of the reasoning behind the merger in the first place (expanding Micro Focus beyond its own core COBOL skills set).


'Investors keen to learn more about what this means for SUSE are likely to gather at the forthcoming SUSECon 2015,' points out O'Connor. That expo takes place in Amsterdam between November 2-6 and the theory goes that it could provide a catalyst for investors to renew their fascination with the Micro Focus story, and re-acquaint themselves with the stock.

Issue Date: 11 Sep 2015