Accenture beats Wall Street expectations in 4Q

NEW YORK (AP) — Consulting firm Accenture PLC reported Thursday that its fourth-quarter profit fell due to higher tax rates. The company still managed to beat market expectations for the period and it issued a forecast for the year that topped Wall Street's estimates.

Its stock jumped 4 percent in after-hours trading on the news.

Accenture posted net income of $578.3 million, or 88 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Aug. 31. That's compared with $611.9 million, or 91 cents per share, posted for the same quarter last year. Its net revenues, excluding reimbursements, rose 2 percent to $6.84 billion.

The quarter beat the 87 cents per share on net revenue of $6.75 billion that analysts polled by FactSet were anticipating.

Accenture reported major gains in its outsourcing business, while revenue from consulting fell slightly, due in part to the negative impact of exchange rates. Its new bookings hit $9.2 billion, its highest quarterly bookings yet.

The company also declared a semi-annual cash dividend of 81 cents per share, up 20 percent from its last semi-annual dividend of 67.5 cents.

For the full fiscal year, Accenture posted net income of $2.55 billion, or $3.84 per share versus $2.28 billion, $3.39 per share. Net revenue grew to $27.86 billion from $25.51 billion.

It also said it expects to earn $4.22 to $4.30 for the current fiscal year on net revenue growth of 5 to 8 percent, in local currency. Analysts had forecast $4.17 per share.

Shares of Accenture jumped $2.63 in after-hours trading to $68.01. They had ended the regular session up $1.03, or nearly 2 percent, $65.38.