16 Jan 2017 Sam Dean, The Daily Telegraph

WANdisco shares up in the clouds as data company declares record bookings

Shares in cloud computing company WANdisco soared more than 20pc as it announced that total bookings were up 72pc last year in its first trading update since a dramatic boardroom scuffle ended with a string of senior figures leaving the business.

Bookings for the full year were up 72pc to $15.5m (£12.9m) from $9m in 2015, while the company also secured record bookings in the fourth quarter of last year, up 97pc to $6.1m from $3.1m in the same period in 2015.

The results sent the company’s shares soaring to 261p, and bring WANdisco a step closer to posting a profit for the first time since it became a publicly listed company in 2012.

The news also comes just three months after it was plunged into turmoil when chief executive and co-founder David Richards wasforced out of the group after 11 years at the helm.

But Mr Richards regained control just a week later after claiming he had been “ambushed” and saying his ousting had been “the stuff of cloak and dagger spy novels”.

Mr Richards orchestrated a shareholder revolt within days of his departure, and his swift return saw WANdisco’s chairman, chief financial officer and a senior independent director leave the company,although finance boss Erik Miller was reinstated three days later.

WANdisco chief executive David Richards CREDIT: SIMON DAWSON/BLOOMBERG

In December the company, which is based in Sheffield and California, announced it had secured a contract with IBM for “a major automotive multinational” that was worth approximately $1m in royalties.

There were also partnerships agreed with Amazon and Oracle, among others, which Mr Richards said were “proving to be very fruitful and drive more predictable, higher-margin revenues”.

WANdisco, whose technology allows companies to store and manage large quantities of online data, said bookings in the second half of 2016 were up 109pc to $9.6m, from $4.6m in same period in 2015.

Mr Richards, who said the company was operating at near cashflow break-even in the fourth quarter, said the management changes over recent months had left the business “more streamlined” and added that WANdisco is taking “more of a US-style approach without multiple layers of management”.

He said: “This is what we have been saying is going to happen all year - a significant bookings increase, getting costs under control and then approaching cash flow break-even.

“Did people think we were going to do a multi-million dollar deal with IBM? Well, probably not. But we did. Did people think we were going to come to close to reaching cash flow break-even in the fourth quarter? They probably didn’t, but we did.

“What’s nice about this is that we have actually got solid numbers, not just sentiment. It’s not just me saying I think things are going to improve - things have clearly improved.”