July 29, 2008 / 11:32 AM / 10 years ago

UPDATE 2-CGI profit jumps as revenue, bookings rise

(Adds details, analyst comment, stock price)

TORONTO, July 29 (Reuters) - CGI Group (GIBa.TO), Canada’s biggest computer consulting company, reported a higher third-quarter profit on Tuesday, helped by higher revenue and a 25 percent jump in contract bookings.

CGI said it earned C$81.7 million ($79.5 million), or 25 Canadian cents a share, in the quarter ended June 30, up nearly 28 percent from C$64 million, or 19 Canadian cents a share, a year earlier.

Revenue was C$950.5 million, up 4 percent from C$914 million.

Analysts expected the outsourcing and information technology company to earn 22 Canadian cents a share on revenue of C$962.5 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

Cash from operations was C$106.3 million, or 11.2 percent of revenue.

“Everything was pretty much in line,” said Canaccord Adams analyst Dushan Batrovic.

“Free cash flow bounced, which most people were expecting,” he said, but added: “It’s still down double digits year-over-year.”

The company booked C$1.01 billion in new contract wins, extensions and renewals, up 25 percent from C$807 million. The backlog at the end of the quarter was C$12.03 billion, or 3.1 times annual revenue.

CGI also said that after nine months of its fiscal 2008, it has reached bookings of more than C$3.2 billion — the equivalent of the total bookings for fiscal 2007.

CGI also paid down long-term debt in the quarter, reducing it by C$11.5 million. At the end of June, net debt stood at C$369.9 million, it said.

It also bought back 9 million shares, for a total of C$97.8 million.

CGI shares rose 54 Canadian cents, or 5.2 percent, to C$10.87 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

$1=$1.03 Canadian Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski and Scott Anderson; editing by Rob Wilson

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