Shares in the company behind Snapchat have soared after the latest quarterly results showed it stemmed a decline in users and beat revenue estimates.

Snap climbed 22% in after-hours trading as the update eased fears about the photo-messaging app losing users to Facebook-owned rival Instagram.

The app, known for its disappearing messages and image filters, has struggled since making its Wall Street debut two years ago as Instagram has replicated many of its features.

A controversial redesign has also put off some of Snapchat’s advertisers and users.

Snap’s share price – even after the latest surge – remains about 50% lower than when it first floated in New York.

Fourth-quarter results showed it had 186 million daily active users. Although this is unchanged from the previous quarter, it is down one million compared with a year ago.

That beat analysts’ expectations, amid forecasts that user numbers had tumbled to about 185 million.

Snap’s interim chief financial officer Lara Sweet added that the company also did not expect a sequential decline in user numbers in the current first quarter.

The company also said it has been rolling out a new Android app to a small percentage of users, after it found it had more bugs and a worse user experience than its Apple app.

That is seen as key to gaining new users in developing markets where devices running Google’s Android system are much more popular than iPhones.

Chief executive Evan Spiegel said: There’s roughly two billion people who are on Android and do not have Snapchat.

If we can take even a small percentage of that, it would make a big difference.

Snap’s revenue for the fourth quarter rose 36% to $390m (£300m) – beating Wall Street estimates. It remained loss-making, in the red by $192m (£148m), though that compared with a loss of $350m a year earlier.

For the full year, revenues rose 43% to $1.18bn (£910m) and losses shrank 64% to $1.26bn (£970m).

(c) Sky News 2019: Snap shares soar after app stems user decline