Accenture Sails Past Estimates, Raises Outlook

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Accenture ( ACN) sailed past Wall Street's estimates in its second-quarter results, released after market close on Thursday. The consulting firm also raised its guidance, boosted by solid services demand.

The IBM ( IBM) rival brought in revenue of $6.8 billion, an increase of 12% from the same period last year and above the average analysts' estimate of $6.6 billion.
Accenture reported its second-quarter results on Thursday.

Excluding items, Accenture earned 97 cents a share, up from 75 cents a share in the prior year's quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were looking for earnings of 86 cents a share.

Investors welcomed Accenture's numbers, pushing the company's stock up $1.18, or 1.86%, to $64.70 in extended trading.

"We are very pleased with our second-quarter performance, which included strong revenue growth in all five operating groups and all three geographic regions," explained Pierre Nanterme, Accenture's CEO, in a statement released after market close. "We continued to see solid demand for our services, as demonstrated by outstanding bookings of nearly $8 billion, and our balance sheet remains very strong."

Accenture's new bookings for the quarter were $7.94 billion, with consulting bookings generating $4.05 billion and outsourcing bookings contributing $3.89 billion.

The New York-based firm, whose stock recently hit a new 52-week high, also raised its outlook for the year. Accenture now expects local currency revenue growth in the 10% to 12% range for fiscal 2012, up from its prior forecast of 7% to 10% growth.

Excluding items, Accenture is now looking for earnings of $3.82 to $3.90 a share, 6 cents higher than its prior range for a profit of $3.76 to $3.84 a share.

For the third quarter, the company expects revenue between $7.05 billion and $7.25 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters are looking for third-quarter sales of $7.02 billion.

Accenture also declared a semi-annual cash dividend of 67.5 cents a share after market close on Thursday.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York.

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