fourth-quarter earnings rose 34% from a year ago on a 10% jump in revenue, beating estimates thanks to solid sales growth in its consulting and outsourcing arms.
The company issued first-quarter earnings guidance that is slightly below Wall Street expectations, however.
Accenture earned $183.0 million, or 30 cents a share, on revenue of $3.81 billion in the three months ended Aug. 31, compared with earnings of $120.5 million, or 25 cents a share, on sales of $3.46 billion last year. Analysts had been forecasting earnings of 28 cents a share on revenue of $3.48 billion in the most recent quarter.
The consulting shop expects to earn 28 cents to 31 cents a share on revenue of $3.5 billion to $3.7 billion in the current first quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had been forecasting earnings of 32 cents a share on revenue of $3.67 billion.
For the full year, the company sees earnings of $1.34 to $1.39 a share on revenue growth of 9% to 12%. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had been forecasting earnings of $1.39 a share on revenue of $15.3 billion.
Gross margin in the most recent fourth quarter was 32.4% compared with 34.4% last year, reflecting an ongoing shift in the mix of the company's business to outsourcing, as well as "the accrual of a significant amount of variable compensation" in the 2004 fourth quarter compared a year ago.
By segment, Accenture's consulting revenue rose 8% from a year ago to $2.14 billion in local currency, while outsourcing revenue rose 13% from a year ago to $1.28 billion.