It's a reasonable question given the firm's patchy (to say the least) performance. This is an IT security company, albeit, a small one, but it couldn't ask to be in a hotter spot (this is what Shares wrote in a feature back in 2013, and here's our most recent cyber security feature). Yet in the four and half years that Corero Network Security (CNS:AIM) has been a distributed denial of service, or DDoS, cyber attacks defence specialist it has faced dribbling revenue declines and has yet to make a profit.
Last year, to 31 December 2014, it posted revenues of $7.48 million (down 27%), ran up operating losses in excess of $10.4 million and chalk-up a $7.1 million loss even under its preferred EBITDA measure (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), which is basically operating profits with the effects of the depreciation and amortisation stripped out, a typical metric for software businesses.
Half year figures for this year, published on 30 September, showed things were a bit better. Revenues were up a bit ($4 million versus $3.7 million H1-on-H1), EBITDA losses down a bit (from $3.9 million to $3.5 million) but it still managed to burn through more than $4 million of cash.
Which makes recent contract successes all the more vital. It has been pushing its SmartWall threat defence system since February 2014 and it today (6 January 2016) bagged it first contract with a major Tier-1 internet service provider (ISP) in Europe, and that sparks a 13%-plus share price jump to 18.75p.
'This is not a trial or Proof of Concept but a fully operational DDoS protection service, managed by the provider on behalf of its customer,' points out CEO Ashley Stephenson today. 'We look forward to pursuing additional DDoS protection service deployments with this Tier-1 provider and other leading ISP's across Europe.'
OK, worth just $700,000, big deal you might think. But this is the latest in a trend, a welcome line of new business that is getting ever longer.
It comes just a day after sealing a similar deal with an internet hosting supplier in the US, and that was won less than a month after securing a Tier-1 ISP in the States on 10 December. Go back to early October, you'll find the announcement of a FTSE 100 company to sign-up, plus there was another American ISP in September, albeit a smaller, regional supplier.
Add these deals together and their value tots-up to $2.5 million of new business, and that's without the December contract, where no financial details were given. But pretty decent going since Corero went cap in hand to investors for £5 million fresh cash to fuel growth.
No need to get any bunting out yet, there's plenty to do but it might be just worth whispering... perhaps the Corero worm is finally turning.