Consumer cyber security tools supplier Avast said it expects revenue at the upper end of guidance after reporting a rise in first-half profit, driven by higher product demand coming from the work-from-home trend.

The company also upped its half-year interim dividend 9.1% to $0.048 per share.

But the shares fell sharply on Wednesday, down more than 5% to 568.5p to head the FTSE 100 loser board, partly a reaction to the stock’s stunning recovery rally (the share price has more than doubled since mid-March).

LIMITED MOBILE TRACTION

Limited traction in mobile may also have disappointed investors despite the company significantly upping its subscriptions push. Avast’s comments that mobile showed ‘good growth in the direct-to-consumer channel,’ simply does not show through in the numbers, where both billings and revenue declines by about 4.5%.

Mobile remains sub-scale in the revenue mix at just a tenth the size of Desktop, but the use case will take much longer to build given consumer confidence in in-built mobile security solutions.

SOLID OVERALL

Adjusted revenue grew 1.5% to $433 million while adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 2.1% to $241 million. Operating cash inflows came in at $233 million.

This was almost solely driven by Consumer Direct Desktop as usual, which accelerated as consumers spent more time on home devices for work and leisure.

Overall, this was a resilient performance and it has allowed management to maintain guidance for mid-single-digit organic growth. Forecasts are asking for headline revenue of $889 million and adjusted EBITDA of $496 million.

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Issue Date: 12 Aug 2020