* Sees growth in 2013 sales, operating margin
* Says U.S market better than "mediocre" Europe
* Investment appetite grows thanks to cost-cutting
(Adds details, background, analysts estimates)
By Alice Cannet
PARIS, Feb 20 Capgemini predicted
organic revenue and operating margin would edge higher this year
thanks to a better geographic sales mix and clients' appetite
for cost-cutting services.
Europe's largest IT services group by market cap sees
organic sales this year growing at the same rate as in 2012, or
1.2 percent, the company said in a statement on Wednesday, as it
reached its growth target for the year.
The U.S market, where the group now makes a fifths of its
sales, will be key as the macroeconomic environment in Europe
remains weak, Chief Executive Paul Hermelin said.
"Little by little, our dependence on Europe is shrinking. We
are proud to be first in Europe but I think being a global
player is good for the company," he told a conference call.
Tech services groups have been facing strong pricing
pressure and stiff competition as governments and companies,
especially in Europe, cut their IT spending and delay projects
in response to slower growth and macroeconomic worries.
Capgemini's European revenue shrank to 72 percent of the
total last year, from 80 percent in 2010. The U.S, one of the
group's most profitable regions, now makes up 20 percent of
sales from 18 percent in 2010.
Capgemini, which helps companies and governments cut costs
and improve operations through consulting, outsourcing and other
services, could also benefit in 2013 from a "certain appetite
for investment" seen at large clients, Hermelin said.
"This investment is either turned towards the quest for
savings and competitiveness but also innovation when it is fed
by great technological trends such as the cloud, big data and
mobility," he added.
The IT sector's prospects improved since January when
India's top software exporter Tata Consultancy Services
joined rival Infosys in posting a
stronger-than-expected quarterly profit.
The company's rivals also include IBM, Accenture
and France's Atos which will publish full-year
earnings on Thursday.
Full-year sales reached 10.26 billion euros in 2012 slightly
ahead of the analysts average estimate of 10.23 billion euros
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S consensus.
In the company's top market, France, organic sales fell 2.1
percent over the full-year while Benelux continue to drag
revenue down, with sales down 11.8 percent.
Capgemini said it expected its operating margin before
amortization of intangible assets acquired through acquisitions
to exceed 8.3 percent in 2013, compared to 8 percent in 2012.
Current operating profit reached 787 million euros, above
analysts estimate of 749 million euros, representing a margin of
Shares in Capgemini are up 12.2 percent so far this year,
after rising 36 percent in 2012, valuing the company at 5.6
billion euros compared to 4.8 billion for French peer Atos.
(Reporting by Alice Cannet; Editing by Christian Plumb)