NCC sees profit growth as transformation plan pays off

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.

NCC chief executive Adam Palser was tasked with turning the company’s fortunes around after being appointed in 2017.

Facing profit warnings and a falling share price, former boss Rob Cotton had stepped down from the Manchester-based cyber security business.

Mr Palser said: “We are now at the mid-point of our three-year transformation programme and, while work remains to be done, we are on track and I am pleased with the progress we are making towards NCC Group’s vision to become the leading cyber security adviser globally.”

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

Mr Palser added: “Our performance strengthened over the course of the period, and we enter the second half with positive momentum and a robust order book across our businesses.

“We remain excited by the group’s long term prospects and are confident in delivering full-year performance in line with expectations.”