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Darktrace shares fall below IPO price as it cuts outlook amid slowdown in new customers

(Alamy/PA)
(Alamy/PA)

Shares in Darktrace fell below their IPO price for the first time today after the cybersecurity firm warned its revenues were set to fall below expectations for its full financial year as economic uncertainty sparked a slowdown in its recruitment of new customers.

The Cambridge-based business saw its stock plunge 18% to 238p in the opening minutes of trade after it cut its revenue growth outlook to 29.5%-31%, down from as much as 33% in an earlier estimate, as macroeconomic headwinds led to an “impact on new customer growth that had been larger than expected.”

Growth in annual recurring revenue, a measure of regular spending by existing customers, was set to drop to 31.5% down from a previous estimate of 34%, while overall revenue in the six months to December 2022 is expected to climb 35.2% to $258 million (£212 million).

But the tech firm is hoping to reverse its fortunes with the appointment of a new ‘chief revenue officer’, ex-VMware executive Denise Walter, who has been tasked with taking control of its strategy for new business growth.

Darktrace was more upbeat about its future earnings, predicting its adjusted pre-tax margin to be at the top end of expectations or higher.

Chief financial officer Cathy Graham said: “The current macro-economic environment is creating challenges to winning new customers, with prospects more reluctant to run product trials and, in regions with historically higher conversion rates, those rates starting to decline.

“Despite expecting growth to remain slower for the rest of this financial year, it is a testament to our resilient business model that we can drive increases in our profitability forecasts over the same period.“

Darktrace shares have dropped 32% in the past year, causing the value of CEO Poppy Gustafsson’s stake in the business to plunge by £8.5 million. She controls a 0.6% stake in the business worth £18.3 million, according to Refinitiv data.