Sophos estimates that 500 computer viruses are unleashed every month. The Oxfordshire company claims it fights them all, providing online security for 10m users worldwide. Rising sales have led to profits growing 50% a year from £2.9m in 1999 to £9.7m in 2002.

In May 2002, TA Associates, an American venture-capital company, paid £41m for a 22% stake in Sophos, which was founded in 1985 by Oxford University postgraduates Jan Hruska and Peter Lammer.The company recently opened a virus lab in Australia that, with the British lab, allows Sophos to offer 24-hour cover to its customers.

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Company details
ActivitySecurity software developer
Annual profit growth49.58%
Latest profits £000s9,709
Latest sales £000s31,582

If applicable:

* supplied by company † annualised figure