Accenture plc. (ACN)

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Accenture plc (ACN)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

September 27, 2011 4:30 pm ET


Pamela J. Craig - Chief Financial Officer

KC McClure -

Pierre Nanterme - Chief Executive Officer and Director


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

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

Moshe Katri - Cowen and Company, LLC, Research Division

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

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

Nathan A. Rozof - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Ashwin Shirvaikar - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Jason Kupferberg - Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division

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

Arvind A. Ramnani - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division



Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to Accenture's Fourth Quarter Fiscal 2011 Earnings Call. [Operator Instructions] I'd also like to remind you that today's conference is being recorded. I'll now turn the conference over to KC McClure, Director, Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

KC McClure

Thank you, Kathy. And thanks, everyone, for joining us today on our fourth quarter and full year fiscal 2011 earnings announcement. As Kathy 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 both the fourth quarter and the full year. Pierre will then provide a brief update on our marketing position and progress against our growth strategy. Pam will then provide our business outlook for the first 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. 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. 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 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 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. It's a pleasure to be here today to present our excellent results for Q4 and the full fiscal year. I'm extremely pleased to report that we met or exceeded our business outlook for all of our key metrics from revenues and bookings, to profitability and cash flow.

Here are a few highlights. We delivered record new bookings of $8.4 billion for the quarter, and $28.8 billion for the year. Revenues for the quarter increased 14% in local currency to $6.7 billion with all 5 operating groups delivering double-digit growth. Full year revenues increased 15% in local currency to $25.5 billion, a new record.

Earnings per share for the quarter were $0.91, a 38% increase over Q4 last year. For the full year, earnings per share were at record $3.40, up 28% over fiscal year 2010. We expanded operating margin for both the quarter and the full year. We generated free cash flow of $1.2 billion for the quarter and $3 billion for the full year, exceeding the top end of our annual range by more than $300 million.

We continue to have a rock-solid balance sheet, with a cash balance of $5.7 billion. We continued to return cash to shareholders with more than $2.8 billion in share repurchases and dividend payments during the year. And we just announced a semi-annual cash dividend of $0.675 per share, which is a 50% increase over our prior dividend. Clearly, we are executing and delivering extremely well across all dimensions of our business.

Now Pam will review the numbers in greater detail. Pam, over to you.

Pamela J. Craig

Thank you, Pierre. Thank you, all, for joining today. I am pleased to tell you more about Accenture's fiscal year 2011 fourth quarter and full year financial results. As Pierre just said, we delivered records across the board, including very strong year-over-year revenue growth across the dimensions of our business, overall in the fourth quarter and for the full fiscal year.

In addition to the strong earnings results, which reflected the highest annual EPS we've ever achieved, we also met or beat all of the elements in our original fiscal year '11 annual business outlook a year ago, including records for new bookings, free cash flow and operating margin. As we look ahead into fiscal '12, we are pleased with our progress in building market share and with how we are positioned to drive our business forward.

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