Accenture ( ACN ) reported sharply higher third-quarter earnings Wednesday, thanks to the improving global economy, and also offered future guidance in line with analysts' forecasts.

The business services company had net income of $210.4 million, or 37 cents a share, compared with $132.1 million, or 28 cents a share, a year ago. Net revenue rose 21% from the year-ago period to $3.69 billion. Net revenue is before client reimbursements.

The record quarterly results compare with analysts' consensus estimates for net income of $369.6 million, or 37 cents a share, on revenue of $3.69 billion.

The company reported largely similar preliminary results on June 17.

The company's communications and high-tech unit saw net revenue increase 23% to $1.01 billion, while its financial services unit posted a gain of 24% to $753 million. Regional growth was led by the company's Europe, Middle East and Africa unit, where revenue increased 27% to $1.78 billion.

Accenture also offered guidance for the fourth quarter and full year. The company expects 2004 net revenue of $3.4 billion to $3.5 billion and GAAP EPS of 26 cents to 29 cents for the quarter. The consensus estimates are $3.47 billion and 28 cents.

For full-year 2004, EPS is forecast at $1.18 to $1.20, compared with analysts' expectations of $1.21.

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