UPDATE 2-Capgemini sticks to sales, margin targets

Tue Nov 8, 2011 5:35am EST

* Q3 sales 2.38 bln eur vs Rtrs poll avg 2.33 bln

* Confirms sales to grow 9-10 pct in 2011

* Says takes out additional 500 mln eur credit line (Adds shares, CEO/CFO comments, analyst comment, detail)

By Gwénaëlle Barzic

PARIS, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Capgemini stuck to its target to grow sales as much as 10 percent and boost its margin this year despite economic uncertainty, sending shares in the French information technology services provider up more than 6 percent on Tuesday.

The company posted a 13 percent rise in third-quarter revenue to 2.38 billion euros ($3.3 billion), driven by acquisitions including CPM Braxis in Brazil and Prosodie in France and ahead of the average estimate in a Reuters analyst poll of 2.33 billion.

Shares in Capgemini, which have tumbled 35 percent in the last four months, were 5.2 percent higher at 27.86 euros at 1029 GMT, the second-strongest performers on a 1.7 percent firmer French blue-chip CAC 40 index .

Chief Executive Paul Hermelin told a conference call that Capgemini's clients had so far not been slashing budgets, although it was difficult to predict how the coming months would play out.

"Today, we are still in a market that is holding up," Hermelin said.

Capgemini said it was continuing to target full-year revenue growth of 9-10 percent, or at least 5 percent on a like-for-like basis, as well as an improvement in its operating margin of more than 0.5 percentage points.

Sales growth stripping out the effect of asset sales and acquisitions was 4.7 percent in the third quarter, slowing from 8.8 percent in the second quarter.

"As anticipated, organic growth is gradually reducing quarter by quarter because of higher and higher comparatives," CM-CIC Securities analyst Dov Levy said in a note.

Levy said that while Capgemini's sales publication contained no surprises, the company had had a "good performance" in France and in its technology services business.

France generated improved revenue growth of 7.8 percent, while its technology services business had 7.2 percent growth, Capgemini said.

Capgemini, which competes with IBM and Atos Origin among others, added that it had taken steps to strengthen its balance sheet, taking out an additional 500 million euros credit line.

This would be refinanced when market conditions were deemed satisfactory, preferably through a bond issue, finance head Nicolas Dufourcq told the conference call.

Capgemini also added that given "the unfavorable trend in stock market prices in recent months" the redemption of its convertible bonds due in January was now probable. ($1=0.727 euros) (Editing by Christian Plumb and Mike Nesbit)