FireEye pops 12% as requests to fight Russian cyberthreats, email hacks boost business

FireEye information analysts work at the company's office in Milpitas, California.
Beck Diefenbach | Reuters

Amid increasing reports of email hacks and Russian cyberthreats, at least one struggling business has found a silver lining.

FireEye shares gained 12 percent on Friday after the cybersecurity firm posted better-than-expected third quarter results. Sales were up 13 percent year-over-year, in part thanks to strong demand for cloud-based email security and threat intelligence solutions, FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia said in a statement.

Concerns about cyberattacks are on the rise this year, Mandia told Reuters, adding that FireEye was responding to state-sponsored intrusions from Russia.

"I think Russia's operating at it's fullest scale and scope right now, and for the first time in maybe 15 years, in my opinion, we're responding to more state actor intrusions from Russia than in China," Mandia told Reuters in an interview.

The California-based company reported a third-quarter loss of 18 cents per share, excluding items, on revenues of $186 million. Analysts expected a loss per share of 31 cents a share on revenues of $183 million, according to a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate.

The company also grew margins by cutting expenses, including headcount reductions during the quarter, the company said. Shares of FireEye are about 57 percent lower over the past year, as the company has pivoted to accommodate the growing popularity of cloud computing.

Wedbush Securities analyst Steve Koenig said that the stock may have seen a bounce because so many short sellers had bet against it. The company has much work ahead to beat competition amid an uneasy restructuring, Koenig wrote in a research note on Friday.

"We believe cybersecurity has become a top IT spending priority among enterprises, as highly publicized breaches of major organizations are occurring with increasing frequency, resulting in large-scale theft of consumer data, litigation costs, and reputational damage. Our checks indicate [FireEye] has a differentiated and relatively effective core technology," Koenig wrote. "Even though the market perceives [FireEye] technology to be generally superior, companies must find new budget for advanced threat solutions, which can take time."