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Malware maelstrom boosts SurfControl sales

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Shares in UK-based censorware outfit SurfControl rose more than three per cent this morning with the release of healthy quarterly earnings results.

For the quarter to 31 December 2004 (Q2 2005), SurfControl sales reached $24.7m (£13.1m) up 17 per cent from $21.2m in Q204. Revenues for the half year to December 31, 2004 increased 15 per cent to $47.1m (£25m) compared to $40.8m for 1H04. But profits before tax were down 29 per cent for Q205 to $2.9m as a result of one-off charges for the recent acquisition of Chinese security firm SecureM.

SurfControl anticipates revenues between $97m and $102m for its current financial year, with earnings before bad stuff of $17.7m to $22m.

SurfControl said "increasingly malicious and criminal internet threats" and regulatory compliance requirements drove enterprise demand for its net and email filtering products. During the quarter, he company added 1,100 new customers, including China Southern Airlines, United Broadcasting Corporation Thailand, Daimler Chrysler and the British Olympic Association. SurfControl said its newly launched email security appliance, RiskFilter, brought in a number of sales and went down well with its channel partners.

Viruses and spam are a pain for most of us - but they're a boon for content filtering firms, such as SurfControl. Emerging threats such as spyware and phishing are further driving demand. IDC estimates the secure content market will grow to $7.5bn by 2008 with the web and email filtering segments growing by 23 per cent and 34 per cent per annum respectively.

SurfControl's shares put on 3.5 per cent after its earning's results this morning to reach 621.50p at the time of writing, up 21.5p from close yesterday. The shares are still substantially down on the 762p SurfControl shares were changing hands at for at the start of 2004. ®

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