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SurfControl hits trough

Security firm in sales slump

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Shares in UK-based censorware outfit SurfControl slipped 12 per cent this morning after the firm's annual results came in at the bottom end of expectations.

For the year ending to 30 June 2005 (FY2005), SurfControl sales reached $97.8m (£53m) up 12 per cent from $87.3m in FY04 and narrowly meeting anticipated revenues of between $97m and $102m for 2005. Revenues for the quarter to 30 June increased seven per cent to $27.61m (£15m) compared to $24.5m for Q404.

But Surfcontrol's profits before tax were down eight per cent for Q405 to $2.4m. For the whole year the shortfall was even more marked with profits down 49 per cent to $7.6m as a result of one-off charges accompanied by a disappointing sales performance, particularly in North America.

SurfControl's shares fell 63p from 488p at close on Monday to 425p at the time of writing, both well down on the 685p SurfControl shares were changing hands back in March 2005.

Steve Purdham, SurfControl's chief technology officer, said: "While we have not delivered the levels of invoicing growth we might have wished for this year, we are extremely well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities in this market."

Newly appointed SurfControl chief exec Patricia Sueltz said: "SurfControl has solid fundamentals - but with more focus on growth needed. We've greeted this new fiscal year, driven by our passion for our customers, and an operational mantra of 'relentless execution'."

If that's not enough to scare smut purveyors we're not sure what is. Jacobins and virus writers beware.

Since the start of its financial year in July, SurfControl has rationalising satellite sales offices, flattening the management structure and globalising its support functions. It expects to take a charge of between $3m to $5m in 1H06 for this operational restructuring, which is designed to boost SufControl's operational efficiency and to place a stronger emphasis on channel sales. ®

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