Updated from 5:07 p.m. EDT
beat the Street's forecast for its fourth-quarter earnings by a penny and inched higher than consensus on the top line as well.
Accenture earned $346.4 million in the quarter, or 56 cents a share for the fourth quarter, rising from $229.1 million, or 38 cents a share in the same period in 2005.
Excluding certain items like reorganization and tax benefits, the company earned 39 cents a share, up from 32 cents in the fourth quarter last year. That beat the consensus estimate from analysts polled by Thomson First Call, who anticipated 38 cents a share.
Earlier in the day, the company announced it had
handed over a problem contract with the U.K.'s National Health Service to its rival
The company said it lost $339 million in revenue from the financial impact of that agreement. Net revenue for the fourth quarter totaled $3.97 billion, compared to $3.92 billion in the same quarter last year. Excluding the impact of the NHS handoff, net revenue totaled $4.31 billion, even with $4.31 billion a year ago. That was higher than analysts' expectations of $4.28 billion.
"We're pretty pumped. We feel great about our results," William Green, Accenture CEO said on a conference call with financial analysts after the bell. "We feel terrific about getting the NHS
contracts behind us."
Looking ahead to its first quarter, Accenture said revenue would range from $4.45 billion to $4.65 billion, bracketing the analysts' consensus of $4.55 billion. The company did not immediately offer any EPS estimate for the first quarter, but analysts' expect 42 cents.
For the full year, the IT services firm said GAAP EPS would range from $1.77 to $1.82. Analysts forecast $1.79 a share for fiscal 2007. Top-line growth will range from 9% to 12%, between $18.15 billion and $18.65 billion. The Street forecasts $18.5 billion for the year.
"Our results for the quarter and the year clearly demonstrate the strength and momentum of our business. We had record revenues for the fifth consecutive year. We exceeded our outlook for EPS for both the quarter and the full year," Accenture CEO William Green said in a statement.
Green said the company achieved solid bookings in both consulting and outsourcing and said the company's cash flow is very strong.
In addition, the company repurchased more than $2 billion shares during the year.
Shares of Accenture rose 7.6%, or $2.24 in the regular session to $31.60. After hours, the stock dipped 79 cents to $30.81.