* Q4 adj. EPS $0.11 vs est. $0.08
* Q4 rev $191.3 mln vs est. $173.7 mln
* Sees Q1 service rev $177 mln-$181 mln
* Shares up 6 pct after market
(Recasts; Adds executive and analysts comments, updates
By Mansi Dutta
BANGALORE, Feb 18 Technology consulting and
interactive marketing company Sapient Corp SAPE.O guided
first-quarter revenue above estimates on flush customer budgets
and posted forecast-beating quarterly results, sending its
shares up 6 percent after market.
"We feel good about the business and our prospects for high
growth in coming years," Chief Executive Alan Herrick said on a
conference call with analysts.
This year should be incrementally better than 2009 as
budgets are in the process of being released, he said. "You are
seeing a shift in technology budgets to marketing-related IT."
Herrick added that while pricing pressures seen in 2009
were continuing to flow through the books, the second half of
2010 should see a modest improvement.
The company is well-positioned in two areas -- IT and
advertising -- that have some good secular growth trends,
Stifel Nicolaus analyst George Price said.
Sapient, which competes with Accenture Plc (ACN.N) among
others, forecast first-quarter service revenue of $177 million
to $181 million, and said it expects adjusted operating margin
of 7 percent or more.
"To me the real key is, can they show good margin
improvement," Price said and added that first-quarter margins
were a little bit below what he had expected.
Adjusted operating margin for 2010 is expected to be in the
range of 11 percent to 12 percent, Sapient said.
Analysts were expecting total revenue of $175.1 million,
according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
For the fourth quarter, the company posted a profit of
$70.1 million, or 51 cents a share, compared with $25.7
million, or 20 cents a share, a year ago.
Excluding special items, the company earned 11 cents a
Revenue rose 11 percent to $191.3 million, of which service
revenue accounted for $183.5 million.
Analysts were looking for earnings of 8 cents a share,
excluding items, on revenue of $173.7 million.
Overall general improvement in discretionary business
spending in both IT and advertising helped the fourth quarter,
Price, who has a "buy" rating on the stock, said.
Sapient also announced a special dividend of 35 cents per
Shares of the Boston-based company were trading up 4
percent at $8.74 in after-market trade. They closed at $8.36
Thursday on Nasdaq.
(Reporting by Mansi Dutta; Editing by Ratul Ray Chaudhuri and