Accenture plc. (ACN)

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Accenture plc (ACN)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

December 15, 2011 4:30 pm ET

Executives

Pamela J. Craig - Chief Financial Officer

KC McClure -

Pierre Nanterme - Chief Executive Officer and Director

Analysts

Joseph D. Foresi - Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, Research Division

Keith F. Bachman - BMO Capital Markets U.S.

George A. Price - BB&T Capital Markets, Research Division

Bryan Keane - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Julio C. Quinteros - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Nathan J. Novak - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division

Nathan A. Rozof - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

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

Ashwin Shirvaikar - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

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

Tien-Tsin T Huang - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Avishai Kantor - Cowen and Company, LLC, Research Division

Darrin D. Peller - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Presentation

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon, and thank you for standing by. Welcome to Accenture's First Quarter Fiscal 2012 Earnings Conference 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 2012 earnings announcement. As Tom just mentioned, I'm KC McClure, Managing Director of Investor Relations. With me today are Pierre Nanterme, our Chief Executive Officer; and Pamela Craig, 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. Pam 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 market positioning and progress against our growth strategy. Pam will then provide our business outlook for the second quarter and full fiscal year 2012. 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 in 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 Factor 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 those 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. I am pleased to tell you about our excellent results for the first quarter, which demonstrate that we continued to execute very well against our growth strategy.

Here are a few highlights. We delivered strong new bookings of $7.8 billion. We grew revenues 14% in local currency, to $7.1 billion, with all 5 operating groups and all 3 geographic regions delivering double-digit growth. Earnings per share grew 19%, to a record $0.96. Operating income was $981 million, our highest ever, with strong operating margin of 13.9%. We continued to have a very strong balance sheet, ending the quarter with a cash balance of $5.1 billion. And we continued to return cash to shareholders, through share repurchases and the payment of a semiannual cash dividend of $0.675 per share, which was a 50% increase over our prior dividend, as you can see, we did very well in Q1 and we are particularly pleased that our growth was broad-based across all dimensions of our business. Now let me hand over to Pam who will review the numbers in greater detail. Pam, over to you.

Pamela J. Craig

Thank you, Pierre, and happy holidays and thank you, all, for joining us today. I am pleased to tell you more about Accenture's fiscal 2012 first quarter financial results.

We delivered strong bookings and revenue growth in Q1, including, as Pierre mentioned, double-digit local currency revenue growth across our broad base of business, in all 5 operating groups and all 3 geographic regions. Our record revenues for the quarter, drove record EPS results as well. Unless I state otherwise, all figures are GAAP, except the items that are not part of the financial statements, or that are calculations.

New bookings for the quarter were $7.8 billion and reflected a positive 3% foreign exchange impact, compared with new bookings in the first quarter last year. Consulting bookings were $4.2 billion. Outsourcing bookings were $3.6 billion.

Now let me give you some detail on bookings in the first quarter. In Management Consulting, we had strong bookings, in large part, because of increased client demand for projects that delivered near-term and structural cost take-out, especially for sourcing in other parts of the supply chain. Bookings also reflected demand for services on large scale business transformation programs. And we continue to see clients seeking to drive new revenue through improved sales and marketing effectiveness. Overall, we see our clients taking proactive action in focused ways to respond to the current, more volatile market conditions.

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