Accenture delivers strong Q4

Accenture Ltd. exceeded revenue expectations and met earnings expectations in its fourth fiscal quarter, as the services provider continued to expand its outsourcing business to offset industrywide softness in the consulting and integration market, which is its core business.

Accenture posted net revenue of US$3.02 billion for the quarter ended Aug. 31, 2003, exceeding the consensus expectation of US$2.99 billion from analysts polled by Thomson First Call. Earnings per share came in at US$0.25, meeting analyst expectations, on net income of US$120.5 million.

Compared with 2002's fourth quarter, net revenue grew 12 percent in U.S. dollars and 5 percent in the local currencies of countries where Accenture operates, while earnings per share and net income more than tripled from US$0.08 per share and US$38.1 million, respectively. Net revenue is total revenue before reimbursements.

Outsourcing accounted for US$1.04 billion of net revenue, an increase over 2002's fourth quarter of 41 percent in U.S. dollars and 33 percent in local currency, a clear sign of Accenture's continued push into this segment of the IT services market. Industrywide, the outsourcing segment is doing much better than the consulting and integration segment, which is Accenture's core business. Accenture generated US$1.87 billion in consulting and integration business, flat in U.S. dollars and down 8 percent in local currency when compared with last year's fourth quarter.

For the full fiscal year 2003, revenue was US$11.82 billion, compared with US$11.57 billion in fiscal 2002, while earnings per share grew to US$1.05 from US$0.56. Net income came in at US$498.23 million, up from US$244.89 million.

The Hamilton, Bermuda-based company issued its earnings report Thursday morning, before the financial markets opened in New York. The stock (ACN) closed down 6.67 percent at US$22.12 on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2004, Accenture expects net revenue of US$3.09 billion and earnings per share in the range of US$0.27 to US$0.28.

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