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Internet content filtering company SurfControl plc has announced a 25 percent year-on-year increase in revenue for the first quarter ended 30 September 2003.

In its trading update for the quarter, the company announced record invoicing of $19.7 million, an increase of 25 per cent from the same period last year, along with strong operating cash flow of $7.5 million. The results were in line with market forecasts, and the company's expectations for the year as a whole remain unchanged.

SurfControl specialises in Web and e-mail filtering and is the market leader in content security. It offers a security solution that combines Web, e-mail (including antispam and antivirus) and instant message (IM) filters with a content database and adaptive reasoning tools to automate content recognition. The company has more than 20,000 customers worldwide and employs nearly 450 people in nine locations across the US, Europe and the Asia/Pacific region.

While revenues are a significant improvement on the same quarter last year, they are 34 per cent down on the fourth quarter of the last financial year. However, this was broadly in line with market expectations. "Our fourth quarter is traditionally very strong", said SurfControl corporate communications chief Tom Moriarty. "This is a pattern throughout the software industry. The drop in revenues between the fourth quarter and the first quarter of this year is bang in line with the trend of the past three years. Also, the first quarter of the year coincides with the summer months and this is a very quiet period for most sectors."

The 25 per cent year-on-year jump in revenues was also in line with expectations. "Forecasts for the market as a whole indicate 25 percent top-line growth", said Moriarty. "We would expect to match this. Our overall projection for the coming year is for sales of about $90 million and profits before tax of between $18 million and $20 million. This is a reasonable margin for a software company and will allow us to keep pushing forward with new product development and continued growth."

SurfControl's latest product offering is known as "Project Nomad" -- based on the company's innovative "Follow-Me Filtering" wireless technology. This will allow users of mobile devices such as laptops and PDAs to remotely access the Internet with the same level of content filtering as they do when logging on through their corporate VPN or intranet.

The technology being used is being kept under wraps for the moment, but it is understood that it ensures that the device is connected to an intelligent filtering service whenever it is on-line. "Project Nomad has already been piloted and we expect it to begin making a real financial contribution in the next financial year," said Moriarty. ®

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