Accenture raises full-year revenue forecast after strong first quarter

Thu Dec 18, 2014 9:25pm EST
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By Lehar Maan and Abhirup Roy

(Reuters) - Consulting and outsourcing company Accenture Plc (ACN.N: Quote) raised its revenue forecast for fiscal 2015 after contract wins helped the company post better-than-expected first-quarter earnings and revenue.

The company said it expects revenue growth of 5-8 percent on a local currency basis for the year ending August, up from the 4-7 percent growth it had estimated earlier.

Accenture's shares rose as much as 6 percent to a fresh life-high of $90.99 on Thursday.

"I think what you are seeing there is that they had some very big deals last year and those big deals are waterfalling to revenue this year," Susquehanna analyst James Friedman said.

Accenture, however, cut its earnings forecast, citing a larger-than-expected impact from a strong dollar.

The company, which gets about 56 percent of its revenue from outside North America, said it expects earnings $4.66-$4.80 per share for the period, down from its previous forecast of $4.74-$4.88.

Accenture's gross margins slipped in the first quarter, which the company said was due to variable costs such as hiring and training.

"Despite continued pressure in gross margins ... operating margins expanded 20 basis points on solid management of non-payroll costs," Edward Jones analyst Josh Olson said.   Continued...

Visitors look at devices at Accenture stand at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, February 26, 2013. REUTERS/Albert Gea/Files