UPDATE 3-Accenture sees strong 2012, lifts gloom

Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:14pm EDT

* Q4 EPS $0.91 vs est $0.88

* Q4 rev up 23 pct

* Sees 2012 EPS $3.80-$3.88 vs est $3.76

* Shares up 3 pct in extended trade (Adds conference call comments in paragraphs 2-3,5-7)

By Siddharth Cavale and Bijoy Anandoth Koyitty

Sept 27 (Reuters) - Accenture Plc reported market-beating quarterly results, and the technology outsourcing and consulting company forecast a strong 2012, allaying fears of an industry-wide slowdown triggered by a slowing U.S. economy and debt crisis in Europe.

Accenture said though the global economy has turned more volatile and uncertain, increased regulations and the need to adapt to globalization will drive spending for its services.

"Our clients continue to take steps to adjust to this new environment and this continues to drive demand for our services", Chief Executive Pierre Nanterme said on a conference call with analysts.

Grand Canal Harbour, Ireland-based Accenture said its new bookings -- a key indicator of future sales -- of $8.4 billion in the fourth quarter was the company's highest quarterly bookings ever.

The company said bookings will remain strong based on strength in outsourcing.

"The visibility that we have right now (on budgets) is very good based on the first few months ...," Chief Financial Officer Pamela Craig said on the conference call.

Accenture's FY guidance of $27-$28 billion indicates their visibility that capital budgets would not seem cut too much, said Morningstar Inc analyst Swami Shanmugasundaram.

Craig, however, added that the current strengthening of the U.S. dollar could end up as a headwind to actual dollar growth in the fiscal year.

OUTLOOK BEATS

Accenture forecast full-year earnings of $3.80-$3.88 per share, above analysts' average expectations of $3.76 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

It forecast full-year revenue growth of 7-10 percent, which implies a range of $27.3-$28.05 billion, according to Reuters calculations. This was on the higher end of analysts' average expectations of $27.43 billion.

"We have seen this with Oracle and this (forecast) seems to affirm that IT enterprise spending remains strong," Josh Olson, technology analyst for Edward Jones said by phone.

"It looks like their core growth strategy has good momentum in both geographies and segments," the analyst said.

Oracle Corp last week gave a strong second-quarter outlook, fueled by robust software sales.

For the first quarter, Accenture forecast revenue to be in the range of $6.8-$7.0 billion, ahead of analysts' average estimates of $6.7 billion.

The company also increased its semi-annual cash dividend 50 percent, to 67.5 cents per share, and approved $5 billion of additional share repurchase authority.

Shares of the company were up 3 percent in trading after the bell. They closed at $53.65 on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Bijoy Koyitty and Siddharth Cavale in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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