Accenture Forecasts Annual Earnings Topping Estimates

Accenture Plc (ACN), the world’s second- largest technology consulting company, rose to a record after forecasting full-year earnings topping analysts’ estimates amid a gain in outsourcing bookings.

The shares gained 7.1 percent to $70.03 in New York, the highest closing price since they were listed in 2001. Accenture, incorporated in Dublin, has risen 32 percent this year.

Earnings for the fiscal year ending in August will be $4.22 to $4.30 a share, Accenture said in a statement yesterday after the markets closed. Analysts estimated $4.13, on average.

“The market was underestimating potential growth,” said David Grossman, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., in a note to investors. “We believe guidance validates that point of view and that the stock will migrate to the low $70s.” He recommends buying the shares.

Accenture, reporting ahead of the biggest technology services provider International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), will let investors measure demand for such services, said Keith Bachman, a BMO Capital Markets analyst in New York, in an investor note before the company’s report. New outsourcing bookings were 54 percent of total orders in the fourth quarter, driving a 10 percent gain in that unit’s sales, Accenture said.

‘Outsourcing Growth’

“Very strong outsourcing growth was driven by our clients’ continued focus on improving the efficiency of their operations,” Chief Financial Officer Pamela Craig said on a call with investors after the results were released.

Earnings for the quarter ended Aug. 31 were 88 cents a share, matching the average estimate from analysts in a Bloomberg survey. Net income fell 5.5 percent to $578.2 million, or 88 cents a share, from $611.9 million, or 91 cents, a year earlier, the company said in the statement.

Revenue for the period increased 2.2 percent to $6.84 billion from a year earlier. Analysts had estimated $6.77 billion. Outsourcing net revenue was $3.1 billion, up 10 percent in U.S. dollars and 18 percent in local currency, from a year earlier, the company said.

IBM is scheduled to report quarterly earnings next month for the period ending in September.

(Accenture executives hosted a conference call yesterday. Visit www.accenture.com to listen.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Frier in New York at sfrier1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

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