March 25, 2010 / 8:38 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 3-Accenture reports lower profit, trims outlook

* 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 (Reuters) - 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 rates.

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 billion.

“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 Greece.

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 billion.

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,” he said.

“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)

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