* Trims full-year outlook due to stronger dollar
* New bookings encouraging despite lower outlook
* Fiscal Q2 EPS $0.60, a penny below Street's forecast
* Shares down 1.5 pct after market
(Adds details on exchange rates, CEO comments)
By Ritsuko Ando
NEW YORK, March 25 Technology outsourcing and
consulting company Accenture Plc (ACN.N) reported a fall in
quarterly earnings on Thursday and lowered its outlook for the
year, citing a stronger dollar.
Accenture, which has been struggling over the past year to
recapture corporate spending, said it now expects full-year
earnings of $2.61 to $2.69 per share, down 6 cents from its
December outlook of $2.67 to $2.75 a share, due to exchange
Analysts on average had expected full-year earnings of
$2.70, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company's shares fell around 1.5 percent after-hours to
$40.90, but analysts said the market's disappointment was
balanced by stronger-than-expected new bookings of $6.52
"We're impressed by the strong bookings," said Andy Miedler
at Edward Jones.
New bookings are a gauge of the strength of new business.
"The strength of the U.S. dollar has certainly had an
impact on Accenture's results," he added. "But overall, I think
Accenture is managing the business quite well."
The company, which specializes in helping companies cut
costs and improve operations through consulting, technology
services and outsourcing, earns more than half of its revenue
outside the Americas and is incorporated in Ireland.
The dollar earlier rose to 10-month high against the euro
on worries about the region's ability to help debt-stricken
MORE BOOKINGS, MORE HIRING
For its fiscal second quarter, which ended Feb. 28,
Accenture's revenue fell 2 percent from a year earlier to $5.18
Net income for the quarter fell to $462 million, or 60
cents a share, from $502 million, or 63 cents a share, in the
year-ago period. Analysts on average expected profit per share
of 61 cents.
Despite the year-on-year declines, Accenture Chief
Executive William Green said more customers were expanding
their focus beyond cost cuts, and forecast revenue to increase
in the current quarter.
"A year ago customers were looking at near-term cost
reductions. Now they're looking at things that you would call
more of an investment, like improving their customer service,"
"What you see now is people taking a longer term view,
recognizing that these will pay off in two, three or four
years, instead of two, three, or four months."
He said Accenture plans to hire more workers. But he also
said he would remain cautious as the improvement in global
business conditions still appeared uneven, and limited to the
strongest of companies.
"It's not a rising tide for everyone. Not all boats are
going up. The good boats, the big ones with the strong
captains, are going up. Some of the others are still washed up
on the beach," he said.
(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando; Editing by Gary Hill, Andre Grenon
and Steve Orlofsky)