Updated from 12:48 p.m. EDT
was awarded one of the largest federal technology contracts in history Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security, beating rivals
Shares of Accenture were recently up 73 cents, or 3%, to $25.34. Lockheed Martin shares were down 40 cents, or 0.8%, at $49.14, and shares of Computer Sciences were down 54 cents, or 1.2%, at $43.05.
Subcontractors on the Accenture bid include
; despite the news, shares of all three were recently down.
huge contract calls for building a complicated system of databases and identification devices to monitor visitors crossing U.S. borders. Known as the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program, or US-Visit, the contract will augment the billions already spent by the fledgling government agency to beef up security in such fields as air travel.
The contract, which also encompasses seaport security, is worth up to $10 billion over five years with five one-year options after that, according to the agency. A General Accounting Office report has projected the contract's cost would likely go higher, and it was rumored to have been worth $15 billion before Tuesday's announcement.
"It's a nice contract," said Schwab SoundView analyst Cindy Shaw, who has an outperform rating on Accenture. "It should open up some additional doors for
Shaw noted how the US-Visit contract follows Accenture helping the Transportation Security Agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security, work on luggage screening after 9/11. (Her firm has done investment banking with Accenture.)
Still, Shaw doesn't expect a huge boost in Accenture's financials. She estimates that Accenture would get two-thirds of the contract at most, and only $2 billion at the least. That translates to between a penny and a nickel a year in earnings per share on average over a 10-year period. That isn't much, considering Accenture is expected to earn $1.15 a share in fiscal year 2004 ending in August, according to Thomson First Call.
While Accenture's win is clearly a loss to rival Computer Sciences, Shaw said it wasn't totally unexpected, so she doesn't believe it is a negative. She remains positive on the company, citing its strong pipeline. (Shaw has an outperform rating on CSC; her firm hasn't done banking with the company.)