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3/4/2003
02:07 PM
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Accenture's 2Q Sales Drop But Profits Rise

The professional services and IT consulting firm says sales were down 3% from a year earlier, but profits rose to $118.7 million.

Professional services and IT consulting firm Accenture said Monday that revenue for its second quarter ended Feb. 28 fell 3% year-over-year to $2.83 billion, while per-share earnings were 25 cents, or $118.7 million, compared with 2 cents, or $10.6 million, a year ago when the company incurred steep investment write-offs totaling $211 million.

Revenue from outsourcing grew 33% to $828 million, its biggest growth area during the period. Outsourcing now represents 29% of the company's total net revenue. On the downside, Accenture's sales from business consulting dropped 15% to $2 billion, mirroring larger trends in the professional-services industry.

The company's communications and high-tech group and its government operating group posted revenue gains of 5% and 12%, respectively. Hit by the downturn in the financial industry, the financial-service operating group reported a 5% decrease in revenue. Accenture said it booked $4.75 billion in new business in the quarter, its second-highest total for a three-month fiscal period.

Looking ahead, Accenture said it expects to record per-share earnings between 24 cents and 26 cents in the third quarter ending May 31. For the full fiscal year, it anticipates earnings between 98 cents and $1.05 per share. Officials said the firm expects to take a $60 million charge in the third quarter to cover the cost of staff reductions. It trimmed about 1% of its workforce last year.

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