August 10, 2011 / 6:40 AM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1- Micro Focus boosted in talks as trading improves

(Adds details)

* Trading in first quarter better then company expected

* Says takeover talks continuing

LONDON, Aug 10 (Reuters) - British IT firm Micro Focus International said it was more confident it could turn around its business after a better-than-expected first quarter, strengthening its hand in ongoing takeover talks.

The company, which supports mainframe computer applications for companies like Tesco, said in May it was exploring a number of approaches, including from U.S.-based private equity firms Bain Capital and Advent International.

It said on Wednesday that trading in the three months to end-July was similar to the same period a year ago, measured in constant currency, while core earnings were better then it expected, helped by cost savings.

Executive Chairman Kevin Loosemore said he was pleased with progress during the four months since he took over at the company towards the end of a “disappointing” year, which fell short of expectations.

“I am increasingly confident that there is significant untapped value in the business which can be realised by delivering the proposed operational turnaround and this is the primary focus of the management team,” he said.

“At the same time we continue to explore the possibility of a transaction consistent with the underlying value of the business to deliver that value to shareholders more quickly.” (Reporting by Paul Sandle)

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