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Antivirus firms are enjoying the benefits of heightened security awareness, and viral outbreaks, with extas sales of their security software.

Helped by a recovery in consumer spending, Symantec yesterday posted Q3 revenues of $290.2 million, compared to $241.8 million for the same quarter last year. Net income before one-time charges and the amortisation of acquisition-related charges, primarily from the Axent acquisition, came out at $59.4 million.

Including these one-time charges, Symantec reported earnings per share of zero cents.

During the quarter Symantec shipped 5.3 million packaged products to consumers, a record for the firm and nearly two million more than has it has ever previously shipped.

Symantec's enterprise business, which includes security management, firewall and intrusion detection software and accounts for 60 percent of total sales, performed "solidly". But it was sales of antivirus software - up 53 per cent from the same quarter last year - which contributed most to the overall growth in Symantec's business.

Things are also looking up at McAfee.com, the security ASP subsidiary of Network Associates, which yesterday reported fourth quarter of fiscal year 2001 was $18.6 million up $6.5 million from the same period last year. Net income for the quarter was $904,000.

McAfee's revenue for the full year, during which it made a loss of $854,000 as it expanded its business, was $62.0 million.

A quarter of a million people signed up to McAfee.com over the quarter, giving it a paid subscriber base of 1,345,000 people, the firm said. ®

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