SHARE OF THE WEEK
DARKTRACE boss Poppy Gustafsson will be in the spotlight next week as it publishes its first set of results since it was attacked by a short-seller and forced to launch a probe into ‘key financial processes and controls’.
The 40-year-old will face questions about the company’s financial health when she announces half-year figures on Wednesday.
The cyber security firm has revised down its revenue guidance, recently forecasting year-over-year growth of 29.5pc to 31pc against its previous outlook of 30pc to 33pc.
Since then, the firm has hired Ernst & Young (EY) to review its finances after New York hedge fund Quintessential Capital Management said it was ‘deeply sceptical’ about financial statements and warned the group may have ‘overstated’ sales and profits.
Quintessential, run by former Israeli paratrooper Gabriel Grego, even accused it of doing business with ‘shell companies in offshore jurisdictions manned by individuals with ties to organised crime, money laundering and fraud’.
Shares hit a record low of 210p, well below the 250p mark they listed at last year. Gustafsson said the allegations were ‘unfounded inferences’ and launched a £75m share buyback. Darktrace called in EY to conduct a review. Chairman Gordon Hurst said the board ‘believes fully in the robustness of Darktrace’s financial processes and controls.’
But David Vignon, vice-president equity research at Stifel, said the review was not enough to reassure investors.