Accenture raises revenue growth forecast for second time

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(Reuters) – Consulting and outsourcing company Accenture Plc raised its full-year revenue growth forecast for the second as it won more business from companies looking to cut costs and improve efficiency in a tough economic environment.

Accenture’s shares rose as much as 7 percent to a record high $94.59 in early trading on Thursday.

The company also reported higher--expected quarterly profit and revenue, helped by growth in revenue from North American clients.

Accenture’s net revenue rose 5 percent in the second quarter. Revenue increased 6 percent in . dollar terms in its outsourcing business and 4 percent in its consulting business.

“This is the best constant-currency growth we have seen out of the company in years, since the second quarter of 2012…” Susquehanna Financial Group analyst James Friedman told Reuters.

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The consulting business accounts for a little more than half of Accenture’s total revenue, its outsourcing unit contributing the rest.

Accenture’s rivals include India’s Infosys Ltd and Tata Consultancy Services in the outsourcing business and Hewlett-Packard Co and IBM Corp in the consulting business.

Accenture said it expected revenue to grow 8-10 percent on a local-currency basis in the year ending August. The company had raised its revenue growth forecast to 5-8 percent in December from 4-7 percent.

Accenture’s revenue growth is accelerating at a time the growth of other technology services companies is slowing, Friedman said.

The company, however, cut the top end of its full-year earnings forecast range, saying it now expects the negative impact of a strong dollar to be higher than previously anticipated.

Accenture, which gets a little more than half of its revenue from outside North America, narrowed its profit forecast range to $4.66-$4.76 per share from $4.66-$4.80.

The company’s net income rose about 3 percent to $743.2 million, or $1.08 per share, in the quarter ended Feb. 28.

Net revenue rose to $7.49 from $7.13 billion.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.07 per share and revenue of $7.38 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Accenture’s shares were up 6.2 percent at $93.67 on the New York Stock Exchange.