February 5, 2008 / 1:44 PM / 10 years ago

CGI Group books 66 pct rise in quarterly profit

TORONTO (Reuters) - Outsourcing and information-technology firm CGI Group Inc (GIBa.TO) GIB.N reported a 66 percent jump in its first-quarter profit on Tuesday as revenue rose despite damage caused by foreign exchange rates.

CGI, Canada’s biggest computer consulting company, said it earned C$72.6 million, or 22 Canadian cents a share, in the quarter, up from a profit of C$43.7 million, or 13 Canadian cents a share, in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue rose to C$914.7 million from C$904.1 million a year ago.

Analysts were expecting the company to earn 20 Canadian cents per share before one-time items on revenue of C$945.7 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

CGI said it booked C$1.15 billion in new contract wins, extensions and renewals in the quarter, boosting sales. Its backlog was C$12.04 billion at the end of December.

“The company was impacted a little bit on the revenue front by foreign exchange, so maybe the revenues were a little short of consensus (expectations),” said CIBC World Markets analyst Paul Lechem said.

CGI reported that relative to the same quarter a year earlier, foreign exchange fluctuations hurt its revenue by C$44.2 million.

“On the other hand, their bookings were strong and potentially show that they are turning a bit of a corner here in terms of their organic growth,” Lechem said.

CGI said it generated C$118.7 million in cash from its operations.

“The company continues to enhance its financial flexibility to invest in large outsourcing contracts, accretive acquisitions, share buy backs and debt reduction,” CGI said in a statement.

CGI said it would purchase up to 28.5 million, or 10 percent, of the public float of its Class A subordinate shares during the next year. It repurchased 1.4 million shares worth C$15.8 million during the first quarter.

It said long-term debt dropped by C$37.5 million during the quarter. At the end of 2007, net debt was reduced to C$328.6 million, CGI said.

Its shares rose 7 Canadian cents to C$10.37 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

($1=$1.00 Canadian)

Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski and Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Peter Galloway

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