NCC sees profit growth as transformation plan pays off

23 January 2020, 11:34

A woman uses a laptop
NCC sees profits rise. Picture: PA

The cyber security company saw a big leap in UK growth.

Cyber security firm NCC, which is halfway through a turnaround plan, has said its profit and revenue ticked up in the first six months of the financial year.

Revenue hit £132.7 million, a 5.3% increase on the sale period the year before, while pre-tax profit was 8% up at £9.4 million.

It was growth in its assurance side of the business, which deals with cyber security and risk assessment, that was the standout star of the half-year results.

Assurance growth sped up in the UK, hitting 6.9% in the half-year to November 30, from 1.1% in the first half of the 2019 financial year. However, North America slowed, growing by only 10.6%, compared with 20.4% a year earlier.

Revenue in its escrow business fell by 2.6%, a work in progress, according to analysts.

“Progress reflects the restructuring and repositioning activity across the group from the new management team with investment set to continue,” said Robin Speakman, an analyst at Shore Capital Markets.

In 2017, when chief executive Adam Palser took over, the company needed a new start.

Under former boss Rob Cotton, the Manchester-based cybersecurity firm had expanded rapidly and was hit by profit warnings and a falling share price.

“When I picked up the company it had many wonderful traits,” Mr Palser told the PA news agency.

But 18 months ago he took action to “knit the nervous system of this firm together.”

“When you’ve grown a lot through acquisition, or grown very rapidly organically, you end up with a disparate set of systems and processes,” he said.

The business also needed to build better relationships with its clients, which include 58 Fortune 500 companies, and 85 of the FTSE 350.

On the results, he said: “We almost had a fantastic half, but instead we had to settle for one we’re very pleased with. And the difference is that we just had a quieter first quarter than we would have loved.”

Shares in the London-listed company rose by 1.7%, or 2.5p, to 211.5p on the news on Thursday morning.

By Press Association

Happening Now