Accenture Beats Analyst Expectations

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Making good on pre-announcements made late last year, Accenture exceeded analyst expectations for the first quarter of 2002 this week, recording just under $3 billion in net revenue and $414 million in operating profit.

The revenue for the quarter ended Nov. 30, 2001, marks a 6 percent increase over the same period of 2001, while operating profit is up 14 percent.

Overall, income before minority interest was $258 million, excluding investment writedowns and the related tax effect, with diluted earnings per share of 25 cents.

Regionally, net revenues in the Americas were $1.44 billion, down 6 percent from a year before. That decrease was boosted by strong growth in other resgions, including Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India.

One of the highlights for the quarter was a 32 percent growth in the company's outsourcing business. In addition, Chairman and CEO Joe Forehand told analysts the company has already brought in $5.6 billion in new sales for the first four months of fiscal 2002.

The company recorded strong growth in its government market business ($337 million in revenue, up 58 percent from the first quarter of 2001), products market business ($650 million in revenue, up 22 percent from 2001) and resources market business ($541 million, up 17 percent from 2001).

However, the trouble spots were in communications and high tech (743 million in revenue) and financial services ($717 million in revenue), which saw decreases of 14 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

Weakness in Accenture's venture portfolio, known as Accenture Technology Ventures, resulted in a $90 million charge for the quarter. The company announced plans last year to reposition its venture portfolio to mitigate future losses and expects to have an alternative in place by the end of the second quarter.

The company says it is comfortable with analyst expectations for the next quarter, as well as the remainder of the year.

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