UPDATE: Avast Benefits From Work-From-Home Trend; Two Directors Depart

(Alliance News) - Avast PLC on Wednesday said its results in the first half of 2020 was boosted ...

Alliance News 12 August, 2020 | 10:35AM
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(Alliance News) - Avast PLC on Wednesday said its results in the first half of 2020 was boosted by the work-from-home trend spurred by the global virus pandemic, but it expects trading to go back to pre-Covid levels.

The Prague-based cybersecurity company's pretax profit narrowed in the first half ended June 30 to USD115.3 million from USD143.9 million a year prior. Revenue increased to USD433.1 million from USD425.4 million.

The company said the strong performance shown in the half-year was in line with its expectations. The performance was driven by the work-from-home trend forced by lockdowns around the world.

Chief Executive Ondrej Vlcek said: "Avast's mission to provide online safety and privacy for all is more relevant than ever. In the half, Avast passed the milestone of 13 million paying customers, up by 640,000. We continue to expand into new markets and extend our reach through new product offerings, such as our innovative privacy solution, BreachGuard."

BreachGuard is a product which protects a customers "sensitive information" from hackers.

Avast said its localisation program, which customises user experience according to local preferences, help drive growth in customer numbers and penetration in markets such as Brazil, Mexico and Japan. This growth was accompanied by continued gains in the Avast's traditional markets such as the US and the UK.

Avast declared an interim dividend of 14.7 US cents, up 8.1% from last year.

After experiencing a spike in demand which directly correlated to nations going into lockdown due to the global pandemic, Avast has seen most trade return to normal levels. Avast therefore believes that the spike was temporary.

Looking ahead, Avast maintained previous annual guidance for organic mid-single-digit revenue growth and raised organic billings growth expectation from in-line to be slightly in excess of organic revenue growth.

Avast said: "While we do not anticipate the strongly elevated performance levels of the second quarter to be sustained, we are confident that Avast is able to capture material benefits from the most recent period beyond the short term.

"Firstly, we are optimistic that the increased user activity seeded during this period will translate over time into durable demand for our products. Secondly, we believe that the stronger digitisation trends brought about by the pandemic are likely to persist in some measure and the resultant value of cybersecurity and privacy products will be felt more than ever. Thirdly, we look forward to realising the full potential of our expanding product portfolio."

Avast separately announced that Ulf Claesson and Erwin Gunst will not be standing for re-election as independent non-executive directors at the company's 2021 annual general meeting.

This follows the nine year board tenure guideline which will be reached at the end of the current term for both board members.

Avast shares were down 6.3% at 562.00 pence each in London on Wednesday morning.

By Greg Roxburgh; gregroxburgh@alliancenews.com

Copyright 2020 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
Rating
Avast PLC 521.00 GBX 0.00 -

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