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Accenture beats profit estimates, raises forecast
March 27, 2007 / 9:07 PM / in 11 years

Accenture beats profit estimates, raises forecast

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Accenture Ltd. (ACN.N), one of the world’s largest consulting companies, said on Tuesday that second-quarter net income and revenue rose, beating analysts’ estimates, on higher demand for its consulting and outsourcing services.

The company also raised its full-year per-share profit forecast by 8 cents, to a range of $1.88 a share to $1.93 a share, helped partly by a 2-cents-per-share tax benefit.

The company’s shares rose more than 2 percent in extended trading.

Net income in the company’s fiscal second quarter increased to $296.7 million, or 47 cents per share, from $69.7 million, or 11 cents per share, a year earlier, when it booked a $450 million provision for expected losses from a contract with the U.K. National Health Service.

Net revenue, excluding reimbursements, rose to $4.75 billion from $4.1 billion.

“The market for Accenture services continues to be robust, and we do not see any uncertainty from our clients, who are investing to compete,” Chief Executive William Green said in an interview.

The company plans to double the size of its management consulting staff to about 26,000 in the next three years, driven by demand for advice on business strategy and supply chain and work force management, said Green and Chief Operating Officer Stephen Rohleder.

“Most of the companies, if not all, are looking for ways to squeeze savings out of their supply chains,” Rohleder said in an interview. “We’re seeing tremendous demand there.”

For its third quarter, Accenture forecast net revenue of $4.9 billion to $5.1 billion, ahead of analysts’ average forecast of $4.87 billion, as compiled by Reuters Estimates.

The Hamilton, Bermuda-based company in December had forecast second-quarter net revenue of $4.6 billion to $4.8 billion. That month, Accenture also estimated net earnings per share of $1.80 to $1.85 for its fiscal 2007, which ends in August.

Accenture reported new bookings, an indicator of future revenue, of $5.33 billion, including a record $3.08 billion of consulting bookings. Revenue from financial services clients, one of the company’s largest segments, jumped 26 percent to $1.05 billion. Communications and high-technology-related revenue rose 6 percent to $1.09 billion.

For the second quarter, analysts, on average, expected net income per share of 42 cents and net revenue of $4.68 billion, according to Reuters Estimates. Wall Street is expecting full-year earnings per share of $1.87 and net revenue of $18.8 billion.

Accenture shares advanced 2.1 percent to $37 in extended trading after closing down 1.4 percent in regular-session trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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