UPDATE 1-Capgemini reaffirms 2-4 pct organic growth target for 2014

Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:30am EDT

* Capgemini sees 2014 margin between 8.8-9 pct

* Says cloud, Big Data activities expanding rapidly

* Growth outpaces wider economy in France (Adds details)

PARIS, July 31 (Reuters) - French IT services company Capgemini confirmed on Thursday its goal of hitting organic growth of between 2 and 4 percent in 2014 after it posted a slight increase in first-half sales thanks largely to strength in Asia.

The firm, which competes with giants like IBM and Accenture, said revenue had grown 1.4 percent year-on-year to 5.1 billion euros ($6.83 billion) despite tough economic conditions in Europe, notably the Benelux region and Spain.

Its operating margin firmed to 402 million euros, or 7.9 percent, up 0.6 percentage points on the same period last year.

The firm reaffirmed its goal of reaching a 2014 operating margin of between 8.8 and 9 percent.

"The performance over the first half leads us naturally to confirm our full-year objectives," said Chief Executive Paul Hermelin. "In spite of slow economic growth in our key markets, we continue to execute our strategy and meet our commitments."

Capgemini, which logged orders from French nuclear firm Areva and Canada's Bombardier during the period, is trying to tap rapid growth in demand for cloud-based IT services and Big Data analytics.

Chief Financial Officer Aiman Ezzat said the business segment -- which helps companies secure their sales and marketing data off-site and analyze it for deep trends -- had grown by 25 percent compared to the first half of 2014.

While Capgemini's performance closely tracks its economic environment, the firm outpaced expansion rates in Asia and Latin America with 9.1 percent growth over the period, as well as in France, where it grew by 1.5 percent.

For the full year, Capgemini said organic free cashflow would exceed 500 million euros . (1 US dollar = 0.7465 euro) (Reporting by Nicholas Vinocur; Editing by James Regan, Tim Hepher)

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