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Darktrace shares surge amid booming demand for cyber security services

Darktrace shares surge 25% amid booming demand for cyber security services

Darktrace shares surged 25 per cent after it said it will beat forecasts amid a boom in demand for cyber security services.

Annual turnover is set to rocket by between 42 per cent and 44 per cent as companies race to protect their IT networks.

Darktrace’s previous estimate was of a 37 per cent to 39 per cent rise. Profits are also set to grow at the group co-founded in 2013 by controversial software tycoon Mike Lynch, who owns 17.5 per cent along with his wife Angela Bacares.

Strong demand: Annual turnover at Darktrace, which is led by chief exec boss Poppy Gustafsson (pictured), is set to rocket by between 42% and 44%

Lynch is fighting extradition to the US over fraud charges relating to selling IT firm Autonomy to HP for £7billion in 2011.

A growing number of businesses, governments and international organisations are falling prey to cyber attacks.

Around two in five UK businesses were targeted in the year to March 2021, according to official figures.

Cambridge-based Darktrace uses artificial intelligence to teach machines how a company’s security works, which allows them to test how robust it is.

The company said revenues in the six months to December soared 50 per cent to £140million, and its customer base rose by more than a third to 6,531. 

Its shares rose 25 per cent early on, and ended up 6.9 per cent, or 27.2p, higher at 422p. 

It floated last year at 250p, but has languished since October, when Peel Hunt analysts told investors to sell their stock and a lock-up period ended on the shares.

Darktrace boss Poppy Gustafsson hit back, saying it has been misunderstood by the market. 

Yesterday, Peel Hunt brokers, who thought it overvalued, upgraded the stock’s status to ‘hold’, keeping a target price of 473p.

Berenberg analysts, who have a ‘buy’ rating, said Darktrace had ‘clearly been caught in a web of misinformation, which we think today’s update will serve to break’.

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