Avast reports work-from-home boost for cyber security

FTSE 100 cyber security company Avast reported an uptick in revenues on the back of a surge in working from home.

The Prague-headquartered company, which provides free to use and subscription cyber security tools, reported revenues of $433m (£332m) in the first six months of the year, up 1.9pc. Adjusted earnings increased 2.1pc to $241m.

Avast said its board was keeping staff working from home until at least January 2021 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The cyber security firm, which was the FTSE’s largest ever tech listing when it floated in 2018 at a £2.4bn valuation, operates on a “freemium” model, offering free antivirus software which can be upgraded with other tools. It has more than 435m free users and increased its paying user base to 13m. It also sells products such as virtual private networks for anonymous browsing and anti-tracking tools.

Avast chief executive Ondrej Vleck said he expected the company’s final year revenues to be at the upper end of its previous guidance – a mid single digit increase. 

The company said the ongoing work-from-home trend was expected to continue to boost business. It added it had donated $25m to science projects during Covid-19.

Mr Vleck said: “Our overall operational and financial performance has been strong, aided by the work-from-home trend that has driven an increase in online consumer activity and product engagement.”

Analysts Morgan Stanley said: “The division benefitted from work-from-home trends due to COVID-19, with a tailwind across all three product categories of security, performance and privacy.”

Avast shares were up around 20pc this year, but fell 4.6pc in early trading on Wednesday. 

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