Misys plc, Winner, Mid-market Treasury

Published: Aug 2011

Misys’ group treasury has played an important role in the company’s recent foray into the world of M&A. This has included a multitude of events during 2010 namely a $1.2 billion merger of its Nasdaq-listed US subsidiary Allscripts with similar sized Eclipsys. This was swiftly followed by Misys’ $1.3 billion spin off of its majority ownership of the new entity, the €435m acquisition of capital markets software group Sophis, and finally its £670m auctioned tender for the buy-back of its own shares.

Photo of Kevin Grant, IT2 Treasury Solutions, Joanna Hawkes and Tim Fitzpatrick, HSBC.

Joanna Hawkes

Group Treasurer

Formed in 1979 Misys plc is a FTSE 250 company that provides integrated IT solutions to the Banking and Capital markets industries. It has over 1,300 customers including all of the world’s top 50 banks. It operates in 120 countries, transacting in over 20 different currencies, employing over 4,000 people.

In August 2010 it sold its healthcare subsidiary for $1.6 billion crystallising over 100% return on investment in less than two years. Following this it returned £670m of capital to shareholders. In November 2010 it acquired software company Sophis plc making it a market leader in treasury and capital markets.

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Each transaction has required group treasury to be at the heart of the machine that enabled these activities to take place. This has required astute management of external banking relationships, effective execution of sizable hedging and investment programmes and speedily executed new acquisition debt for £410m (to documentation within five weeks). This has been run in parallel with significant process and operational developments in the core treasury function all of which has been completed with a small team of just four.

Core treasury developments have included the implementation of a new IT2 treasury management system (implemented under budget) which has played a successful role in the corporate development. In the eight months since it went live it has recorded over 3,000 deals amounting to £15 billion in value, which is considerable for a company with a £700m turnover. Capitalising on this success, group treasury also improved its working capital position, by completing its pan-European zero-balance cash pooling project across 34 bank accounts and 12 countries.

The company’s wide geographical reach (120 countries and 23 currencies), and its complex web of internal recharge of intellectual property rights, has made the management of foreign exchange exposures a particular challenge. The difficulties have been overcome through the establishment of new treasury and FX polices and automation of all FX processes. This along with improved education and dialogue with field (and Board) has made the company less exposed and much more aware of FX risk.

“It is tremendously gratifying to have this work understood and acknowledged by Treasury Today in the form of this prestigious Award.”

In the period post-crunch when it abruptly lost all its $300m core funding through the Lehmans collapse Misys has since recovered to secure a strong and bankable position in the financial markets. It has reduced pricing and terms across the board and improved its ability to operate independently without bank consent.

It also managed to successfully file a claim to recover the resulting refinancing losses that occurred in 2008 from the Lehman’s estate.

“With clear and directed negotiation it became the first to secure a sizable accepted settlement at $15m. It was then able to trade this asset, without recourse for cash,” says Joanna Hawkes, Group Treasurer.

In November 2010, as part of its Sophis acquisition and Misys’ desire for wider and diversified funding sources, the company issued a £100m convertible bond, which was completed within four weeks and achieved the lowest yield ever in the UK for a non-investment grade corporate convertible bond.

“Through great team work at the highest level internally as well as effective bank relationship management externally, Misys treasury achieved cost effective innovative financings and hedge strategies. It has ensured that Misys has improved its profile in the banking community and that it is well placed to tap further capacity to meet our future growth needs. It has been central to the successful Misys transformation,” said Stephen Wilson, Group CFO.

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