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Accenture Profit Rises, Tops Estimate; Lifts FY Outlook

IT services company Accenture Plc (ACN: Quote), Thursday reported a better-than-expected rise in profit for the second quarter on revenue growth across all operating groups and geographies, as well helped by lower taxes. Looking ahead, Accenture provided a strong revenue outlook for the third quarter and also raised its expectations for the full year 2012.

Accenture shares rose to its highest in a year, after gaining 2.3 percent in after-hours trade on the Nasdaq to touch $64.84. In the past year, the stock has ranged between $47.40 and $64.27.

Dublin, Ireland-based Accenture provides consulting, technology services, and outsourcing services.

Accenture's revenue for the quarter grew 12 percent from last year. In local currency, revenues were up 13 percent.

Consulting net revenue for the quarter grew 8 percent from last year, while Outsourcing net revenues rose 19 percent.

By operating group, Communications, Media & Technology revenue gained 16 percent, compared to last year. Financial Services, and Health & Public Service grew 9 percent each. Revenue from Products rose 15 percent, while Resources were up 10 percent.

Asia Pacific was the top performing region with a 23 percent growth, followed by Americas at 13 percent, year-over-year. Europe, Middle East and Africa grew 8 percent.

Accenture benefited from a lower tax rate of 20.5 percent in the quarter, compared to 26.9 percent last year, reflecting mainly benefits from final determinations of prior tax liabilities.

For the second quarter, net income to the company was $644 million or $0.97 per share, compared to $503 million or $0.75 per share last year. On average, 21 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $0.86 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Earnings per share includes results attributable to non-controlling interests in Accenture SCA and Accenture Canada Holdings Inc.

Net revenues for the quarter were $6.8 billion, compared to $6.1 billion last year. Nineteen analysts had a consensus revenue estimate of $6.64 billion.

Looking ahead, Accenture expects third-quarter net revenue of $7.05 billion to $7.25 billion, while analysts currently expect $7.02 billion.

The company now expects full-year earnings of $3.82 to $3.90 per share and revenue growth of 10 to 12 percent in local currency. Analysts currently expect earnings of $3.82 per share and revenue of $27.68 billion for the full year.

Accenture earlier expected full-year earnings of $3.76 to $3.84 per share and revenue growth of 7 to 10 percent in local currency.

New bookings for the full year are now expected in the upper half of its previous target range of $28 billion to $31 billion.

Additionally, Accenture announced a semi-annual cash dividend of 67.5 cents per share on its Class A ordinary shares, payable on May 15 to shareholders as on April 13.

The company, during the second quarter, repurchased or redeemed 8.6 million shares for a total of $465 million. Accenture's total remaining share repurchase authority at February 29, 2012, was about $5.5 billion.

ACN closed Thursday at $63.54, down $0.21 or 0.33%, on a volume of 3.8 million shares on the NYSE. In after-hours, the stock gained $0.83 or 1.31%.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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