cyber attacks give darktrace a sales boost: uk tech star continues to soar despite mounting losses

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Shares in Darktrace rocketed higher even as the British tech star’s annual losses ballooned to more than £100m.

The cyber security firm listed in April with a value of £1.7billion, or 250p per share.

But yesterday the stock closed up 14.5 per cent, at 731p – valuing it at £4.5billion – despite losses widening from £19.5million to £106.7million, partly due to costs associated with its float.

cyber attacks give darktrace a sales boost: uk tech star continues to soar despite mounting losses

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But investors paid more attention to sales, which leapt from £143.9million to £203.4million in the year to June 30. And it predicted this could rise to as much as £278.7million this year.

Its cyber security services have boomed during the pandemic, as businesses splash out on better anti-virus and anti-malware software to protect staff working remotely.

Cyber attacks using ransomware, which seizes control of computers until users pay criminals a fee, are on the rise. 

Cambridge-based Darktrace specialises in software to monitor computer networks, with artificial intelligence (AI).

Poppy Gustafsson, Darktrace’s boss, said: ‘As the adoption of self-learning AI accelerates globally, we are excited to be continually pushing the boundaries of innovation.’

The chief executive owns 0.4 per cent of the company, or 2.77m shares, meaning her stake has increased from £6.9million to £19.2million in value. 

The biggest factor in its loss was £77million costs linked to overhauling the ownership. Another £11million went to accountants, lawyers and bankers.

Its links to Autonomy tycoon Mike Lynch, whose Invoke Capital was a big investor, have cast a cloud amid worries over a forced sale of his stake.

He faces fraud charges in the US and denies the claims. He is fighting attempts to extradite him.

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