Accenture PLC, the world’s second-largest technology consulting company, reported fourth-quarter profit that exceeded analysts’ estimates on increasing spending by businesses.
Net income advanced to $611.9 million, or 91 cents a share, from $445.5 million, or 66 cents, a year earlier, the company said today in a statement. Analysts predicted 90 cents a share, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Accenture also gave 2012 forecasts exceeding projections.
Consulting revenue rose 25 percent. Accenture is benefiting as long-term clients are boosting spending on its services following the recession, said Joseph Foresi, a Janney Montgomery Scott LLC analyst in Boston. Larger rival International Business Machines Corp. also reported earnings beating estimates for the latest quarter on demand from corporations.
“We were at a stage in the economic recovery where companies wanted to turn to consultants to help them in different aspects of their general business -- anything from cost cutting to technology,” Foresi said.
Sales in the quarter ended Aug. 31 rose 23 percent to $6.69 billion. Analysts projected $6.53 billion on average.
Accenture, incorporated in Dublin, advanced $2.07, or 3.9 percent, to $55.72 in extended trading after closing at $53.65 on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares have gained 11 percent this year.
Bookings for consulting projects, which represent more than half of total revenue, were $4.16 billion, up from $3.7 billion in the third quarter.
“While we are closely monitoring the economic environment, we continue to see strong demand for our services,” Chief Executive Officer Pierre Nanterme, who is based in Paris, said in the statement.
The International Monetary Fund reduced its forecast for global economic growth Sept. 20 and said Europe and the U.S. risk re-entering recession if they fail to solve their financial problems.
Per-share earnings for the year ending in August 2012 will rise to $3.80 to $3.88, Accenture said. Analysts estimated $3.77 on average. Full-year revenue will increase 7 percent to 10 percent, the company said. Analysts projected 7.3 percent.
Accenture boosted its semi-annual dividend by 50 percent to 67.5 cents a share.
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