SHARE OF THE WEEK: Darktrace’s Poppy Gustafsson faces questions about the company’s financial health as she announces half-year figures
Darktrace boss Poppy Gustafsson will be in the spotlight next week as he releases his first set of results since he was attacked by a short seller and forced to launch an investigation into “processes and controls key financiers.
The 40-year-old will face questions about the company’s financial health when she announces half-year figures on Wednesday.
The cybersecurity company has revised its revenue forecast downward, recently forecasting year-over-year growth of 29.5% to 31% compared to its previous forecast of 30% to 33%.
The company has since hired Ernst & Young (EY) to review its finances after New York-based hedge fund Quintessential Capital Management said it was “deeply skeptical” about the financials and warned the group could having “exaggerated” sales and profits.
Quintessential, run by former Israeli paratrooper Gabriel Grego, even accused it of doing business with “front companies in offshore jurisdictions run by individuals linked to organized crime, money laundering and fraud.”
The shares hit a record low of 210p, well below the 250p mark they quoted last year. Gustafsson said the allegations were “unsubstantiated inferences” and launched a £75m share buyback. Darktrace enlisted EY to perform a review. Chairman Gordon Hurst said the board “fully believes in the robustness of Darktrace’s processes and financial controls.”
But David Vignon, vice president of equity research at Stifel, said the review was not enough to reassure investors.