Accenture raises revenue growth forecast for second time

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 26, 2015 7:15 AM

By Abhirup Roy and Lehar Maan

(Reuters) - Consulting and outsourcing company Accenture Plc raised its full-year revenue growth forecast for the second time as it won more business from companies looking to cut costs and improve efficiency in a tough economic environment.

Accenture's shares rose as much as 7 percent to a record high of $94.59 in early trading on Thursday.

The company also reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue, helped by growth in revenue from North American clients.

Accenture's net revenue rose 5 percent in the second quarter. Revenue increased 6 percent in U.S. dollar terms in its outsourcing business and 4 percent in its consulting business.

"This is the best constant-currency growth we have seen out of the company in years, since the second quarter of 2012..." Susquehanna Financial Group analyst James Friedman told Reuters.

The consulting business accounts for a little more than half of Accenture's total revenue, with its outsourcing unit contributing the rest.

Accenture's rivals include India's Infosys Ltd and Tata Consultancy Services in the outsourcing business and Hewlett-Packard Co and IBM Corp in the consulting business.

Accenture said it expected revenue to grow 8-10 percent on a local-currency basis in the year ending August. The company had raised its revenue growth forecast to 5-8 percent in December from 4-7 percent.

Accenture's revenue growth is accelerating at a time the growth of other technology services companies is slowing, Friedman said.

The company, however, cut the top end of its full-year earnings forecast range, saying it now expects the negative impact of a strong dollar to be higher than previously anticipated.

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Accenture, which gets a little more than half of its revenue from outside North America, narrowed its profit forecast range to $4.66-$4.76 per share from $4.66-$4.80.

The company's net income rose about 3 percent to $743.2 million, or $1.08 per share, in the quarter ended Feb. 28.

Net revenue rose to $7.49 billion from $7.13 billion.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.07 per share and revenue of $7.38 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Accenture's shares were up 6.2 percent at $93.67 on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Editing by Kirti Pandey)