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nCipher, the niche crypto-security hardware house, has reduced Q2 operating losses to £500,000 (Q1, 2003: -£900K) on flat sales of £3.5m (Q1 £3.6m).

The Cambridge, UK company's cash burn for the quarter ended 30 June 2003 was £300K, against £400K for the previous quarter. For the half year operating loss was £1.4m, much better than the same period in 2002, when it posted an operating loss of £4.8m. H1 revenues were £7.1m, up 18 per cent (H1 2002 £6m).

nCipher attributes H1 sales growth to its entry in the online payments market with a product called payShield. The company forecasts revenue growth from this product line, and stable revenus from other products in the second half.

Other highlights for nCipher's Q2 were new relationships with Verisign and IBM and an upgrade in status with Microsoft, for which it is now a Gold Certified Partner.

nCipher closed its interims with a cash balance of £39m, a comfortable cushion to take it through to profitability. That's if the shareholders don't demand return of what still looks like, considering nCipher's size, a lot of surplus cash.

In March 2003, nCipher returned around £65m of its then £101m cash pile to shareholders. The company raised £104m in a flotation in 2000, an acquisitions war-chest which, in the event, was never needed. ®

Related story

nCipher H1 2003 press release

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