Accenture plc. (ACN)

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Accenture (ACN)

Q4 2012 Earnings Call

September 27, 2012 4:30 pm ET

Executives

KC McClure

Pierre Nanterme - Chief Executive Officer and Director

Pamela J. Craig - Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

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

Darrin D. Peller - Barclays Capital, Research Division

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

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

Moshe Katri - Cowen and Company, LLC, Research Division

Bryan Keane - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

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

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

Edward S. Caso - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

Sara Gubins - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

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

Presentation

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to Accenture's Fourth Quarter Fiscal 2012 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] Later we will conduct a question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, today's conference call is being recorded.

And with that, I'd now like to turn the conference over to Managing Director of Investor Relations, KC McClure. Please go ahead.

KC McClure

Thank you, Doug, and thanks, everyone, for joining us today on our fourth quarter and full year fiscal 2012 earnings announcement. As Doug 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 market positioning. Pam will then provide our business outlook for the first quarter and full fiscal year 2013, and 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 Factor sections 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.

Let me turn the call over to Pierre.

Pierre Nanterme

Thank you, KC, and thanks, everyone, for joining us today. We are very pleased with our financial results for the fourth quarter and full fiscal year, which enabled us to meet or exceed our annual business outlook for all of our key metrics. Our strong performance demonstrates that our growth strategy continues to differentiate us in the marketplace and that we are running our business with a focus on delivering value to shareholders. Pam will provide details on the fourth quarter and the full fiscal year in a moment.

Here are a few highlights for the year. We delivered record new bookings of $32.2 billion. Revenue growth was strong and broad-based across our business, with an 11% increase in local currency to $27.9 billion, also a record. Earnings per share were a record $3.84, up 13% and at the top of our guided range. We expanded operating margin 30 basis points to 13.9%, also at the top of our guided range. We generated exceptionally strong free cash flow of $3.9 billion and continued to have a very strong balance sheet, ending the year with a cash balance of $6.6 billion.

We continue to return cash to shareholders, with more than $3 billion in share repurchases and dividend payments during the year. And we just announced a semi-annual cash dividend of $0.81 per share, which is a 20% increase over our prior dividend. Clearly, we continue to execute extremely well across all dimensions of our business, and I want to take this opportunity to recognize the contribution of the leadership team of Accenture, which is totally committed to our clients and to our success.

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 thanks to all of you for listening today. I am pleased to give you some details on Accenture's fiscal year 2012 fourth quarter and full year financial results.

We finished the year strong across key dimensions. We had record bookings in consulting and outsourcing and a quarterly total, for the first time, of over $9 billion. Our free cash flow as we crossed year end was outstanding. And most notably, we were able to meet or beat all of the elements in our original annual business outlook provided a year ago.

Now let's get to the numbers for the quarter and the fiscal year. Unless I state otherwise, all figures are U.S. GAAP except the items that are not part of the financial statements or that are calculations. New bookings for the quarter were a record $9.2 billion, and that level of bookings also notably reflected a negative 9% foreign exchange impact compared with new bookings in the fourth quarter last year. Consulting bookings were $4.3 billion, and outsourcing bookings were $4.9 billion, both individual records.

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