Autonomy to cash in on credit crunch

Autonomy to cash in on credit crunch

Shares in UK software house Autonomy rose after it said that it stands to benefit from the subprime mortgage crisis as US banks look to implement data retrieval technology for legal and regulatory reasons.

Shares in Cambridge-based Autonomy were up 2.4%, or 20 pence, to 865 pence by mid-morning after the company reported a healthy set of Q4 and full year results and said the effect of the sub-prime crisis "appears now to be a positive for our business".

The stock was trading up 7.46% - or 63 pence higher - at 910 pence by mid-afternoon.

Autonomy chief executive Mike Lynch cites a recent $70 million contract with an un-named global bank as evidence that organisations are accelerating plans "in order to be prepared for the consequences engendered by recent events".

Although Autonomy declined to name the bank involved, the contract is rumoured to be with Citi.

It is thought that many US banks are facing a growing threat of shareholder lawsuits over losses occurred on subprime mortgages and are looking to implement technology - like Autonomy's - to comply with US regulations that require firms to retrieve data required for potential litigation action.

Autonomy's data retrieval technology enables firms to find unstructured electronic data stored on networks, in text, e-mail, voice and video format. In the fall out of last year's credit crunch, it is thought that banks are now having to secure and analyse very large amounts of disparate information very quickly.

"Our regulatory, compliance and government-driven prospects, which account for a significant majority of our revenues, are robust," says Lynch in a statement. "While the current economic conditions bring a degree of uncertainty to any business, we have seen no change in trading conditions."

Autonomy says revenue rose 57% to $115 million in the three months ending 31 December 2007, compared to $73.3 million in Q4 2006. Profit before tax (IFRS) rose to $32.9 million, up from $21.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2006.

For the full year revenue was up 37% to £343 million, while full year profit before tax came in at $91.4 million, compared to $56.3 million a year ago.

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