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Accenture 2Q Net Up 28% On Revenue Beat; Year Outlook Raised

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Accenture PLC's (ACN) fiscal second-quarter earnings grew 28% as revenue easily topped expectations, led by strength in the company's outsourcing business. Shares rose 2.2% to $64.90 after hours on the stronger-than-expected results. The stock had risen 26% over the past year through Thursday's close. The consulting company raised its per-share earnings forecast for the current fiscal year by 6 cents, calling for a profit of $3.82 to $3.90 a share, with top-line growth between 10% and 12% in local currency, up from its previous view of 7% to 10% growth. The company also projected current-quarter revenue between $7.05 billion and $7.25 billion, topping the average $7.02 billion estimate from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Accenture has posted brisk earnings growth over the past year as companies continue to spend heavily on consulting and outsourcing services through both business upswings as well as downturns. For the quarter ended Feb. 29, Accenture reported a profit of $643.9 million, or 97 cents a share, up from $503 million, or 75 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 12% to $7.26 billion, a 13% increase in local currency. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting an 86-cent per-share profit on $6.64 billion in revenue. Operating margin widened to 13.1% from 12.7%. Revenue from the company's communications, media and technology business led growth with a 16% revenue jump, while product revenue grew 15%. Revenue climbed 23% in the Asia Pacific region. The Americas posted 13% growth, while revenue was up 8% in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Revenue from outsourcing and consulting grew 19% and 7.6%, respectively. New bookings reached $7.94 billion. -By Drew FitzGerald, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2909; Andrew.FitzGerald@dowjones.com

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