A cyber security giant with 1,700 employees across the globe has unveiled plans for a $1bn float.

Avast Software, which has more than 435 million users worldwide, is hoping to list its shares on the London Stock Exchange in early May 2018 in what would be the biggest ever tech float in the UK.

The company specialises in both consumer products, including PC antivirus security software marketed under the Avast and AVG brands, and products for the small and medium business (SMB) market.

“Over the past thirty years, Avast has grown from a visionary start-up to the number one consumer cybersecurity company, with 435 million users worldwide,” said CEO Vincent Steckler.

“This transformation of our company has happened because of the dramatic increase in the number and types of threats around the world which are a growing concern to people, and Avast’s ability to stay ahead of the bad guys with new and evolving technologies and products.”

Steckler said Avast’s large user base creates a strong network effect and powers its advanced next-generation security engine which “combines the latest in machine learning and artificial intelligence and big data to keep people around the world safe online”.

He added: “As a leading European tech company, a listing on the London Stock Exchange is a strategic and natural fit, providing us with wider access to the capital markets and supporting the future growth of our business in the years ahead.”

As part of the initial public offer (IPO), Avasta plans to raise approximately $200m to pay down debt and an additional $800m for other purposes.

The company is headquartered in Prague and operates from UK bases in London and Lincoln.