Accenture plc. (ACN)

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Accenture (ACN)

Q1 2014 Earnings Call

December 19, 2013 8:00 am ET

Executives

KC McClure

Pierre Nanterme - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

David P. Rowland - Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

Bryan Keane - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Tien-tsin Huang - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

David M. Grossman - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division

Rod Bourgeois - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division

Kathryn L. Huberty - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Darrin D. Peller - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Sara Gubins - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

James E. Friedman - Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP, Research Division

Jason Kupferberg - Jefferies LLC, Research Division

Presentation

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Thank you for standing by, and welcome to the Accenture's First Quarter Fiscal 2014 Earnings Call. [Operator Instructions] And as a reminder, this conference is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to our host, Managing Director of Investor Relations, Ms. KC McClure. Please go ahead.

KC McClure

Thank you, Tom, and thanks, everyone, for joining us today on our first quarter fiscal 2014 earnings announcement. As Tom just mentioned, I'm KC McClure, Managing Director of Investor Relations. With me today are Pierre Nanterme, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; and David Rowland, our Chief Financial Officer.

We hope you've had an opportunity to review the news release we issued a short time ago. Let me quickly outline the agenda for today's call. Pierre will begin with an overview of our results. David will take you through the financial details, including the income statement and balance sheet, along with some key operational metrics for the first quarter. Pierre will then provide a brief update on our market positioning. David will then provide our business outlook for the second quarter and full fiscal year 2014, and then we will take your questions before Pierre provides a wrap-up at the end of the call.

As a reminder, when we discuss revenues during today's call, we're talking about revenues before reimbursements or net revenues.

Some of the matters we'll discuss on this call are forward-looking, including the business outlook. You should keep in mind that these forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements and that such statements are not a guarantee of our future performance. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, general economic conditions and those factors set forth in today's news release and discussed under the Risk Factors section of our annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and other SEC filings.

During our call today, we will reference certain non-GAAP financial measures, which we believe provide useful information for investors. We include reconciliations of these measures, where appropriate, to GAAP in our news release or on the Investor Relations section of our website at accenture.com. As always, Accenture assumes no obligation to update the information presented on this conference call.

Now let me turn the call over to Pierre.

Pierre Nanterme

Thank you, KC, and thanks, everyone, for joining us today. We are pleased with our results for the first quarter, which were in line with our expectations. We again delivered profitable growth and returned substantial cash to our shareholders. I'm particularly pleased with our new bookings, which demonstrate that we continue to provide differentiated and highly relevant services to our clients and which position us well for the rest of the fiscal year.

Here are a few highlights for the quarter. We did a good, very strong new bookings of $8.7 billion, including consulting bookings of more than $4 billion. We generated revenues of $7.4 billion, a 3% increase in local currency and at the top of our guided range. We delivered earnings per share of $1.15, an 8% increase. We expanded operating margin 30 basis points to 14.8%.

We generated free cash flow of $122 million, and we continued to have a very strong balance sheet, ending the quarter with a cash balance of $4.5 billion. And we continue to return substantial cash to shareholders through a significant increase in our share repurchases this quarter versus Q1 last year and the payment of a semi-annual dividend of $0.93 per share, which is a 15% increase over our prior dividend. So we are off to a good start in fiscal year '14 with our business developing in a way that makes us confident in our ability to deliver our business outlook for the year.

Now let me hand over to David, who will review the numbers in greater detail. David?

David P. Rowland

Thank you. Thank you, Pierre. Happy holidays to all of you, and thanks for joining us today. As I review the results on this morning's call, you'll see that we delivered very good results in quarter 1 as compared to the business outlook that we provided for both the quarter and the full fiscal year. Our results continue to reflect good profitability and cash flow, and our result -- and our revenues landed at the top end of our guided range for the quarter with signs of positive momentum in several areas of our business. So overall, I was pleased with our quarter 1 results, which came in as expected and represent a solid start to the new fiscal year.

Now let's get to the numbers, starting with new bookings. New bookings for the quarter were $8.7 billion, the third highest quarter on record as we saw strong demand for our services across many dimensions of our business. Consulting bookings were stronger than expected at $4.3 billion with a book to bill of 1.1. Outsourcing bookings were very good as well at $4.4 billion, following a very strong quarter 4 with a book to bill of 1.3.

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