Computer firm NCC’s shares leap as it closes in on new business

NCC, the Manchester-based IT and computer security firm, saw its shares rise 12 per cent yesterday as results beat expectations and the company moved closer to grabbing the .secure web address that it hopes will revolutionise its business.

NCC is one of a host of firms bidding for new web endings, and is up against Amazon for the right to create sites that end in “.secure”.

It plans to use the domain to create a new highly secure internet service called Artemis, which it plans to launch next year. The firm has already signed up a number of large banks and social networks.

NCC’s 13 per cent rise in sales to £99.2m relieved investors, who had balked at a gloomy trading update earlier in the year.

Operating profit margins fell from 27 per cent to 24 per cent due to more Assurance business, which is lower margin, and investment in Artemis.

Group chief executive Rob Cotton said the company had delivered a “solid” performance.

“We continue to strengthen our market leading position in growing markets. Our .secure venture is making good progress and is on track to start generating revenue in 2014.With total renewals and order book of £51m already secured for the current financial year...the outlook for the group remains very good,” he added.