NEW YORK; March 19, 2002 – Accenture (NYSE: ACN) expects its operating results for the second quarter ended February 28, 2002, to exceed analysts’ current consensus estimates. The company also outlined the actions it is taking to reposition its venture and investment portfolio and the resulting substantial charge to earnings.
Revenues before reimbursements are expected to be approximately $2.91 billion, in line with the analysts’ current consensus estimate of $2.88 billion. Operating income is expected to be $385 million to $400 million, exceeding the analysts’ current consensus estimate of $361 million.
Excluding investment writedowns described below, net income before minority interest is expected to be between $235 million and $245 million, exceeding the analysts’ consensus estimate of $218 million. Diluted earnings per share on the same basis are expected to be approximately $0.23, exceeding the analysts’ consensus estimate of $0.21.
With respect to its previously reported plan to reposition its venture and investment portfolio in order to eliminate the related earnings volatility, Accenture said that, after exploring a number of alternatives, it has decided to sell substantially all of its minority ownership interests that could cause volatility in its future earnings. To facilitate this sale, the company expects to aggregate these positions into a single subsidiary, which it would then sell. Related to this decision, Accenture’s loss on investments in the second quarter includes a charge of $212 million, before and after tax, related to the loss the company expects to incur on this sale transaction. After giving effect to the charge, the venture and investment portfolio is expected to have a net book value of approximately $95 million, $43 million of which is hedged. Accenture expects to receive offers that allow it to retain a modest percentage ownership of the subsidiary in connection with an ongoing alliance with the buyer. Accenture has engaged an investment bank and is currently in discussions with potential purchasers. The company hopes to complete the transaction by the end of the calendar year.
Accenture said that, going forward, it will continue to make investments and will accept equity and equity-linked securities using guidelines intended to eliminate volatility, but will discontinue venture-capital investing.
Net income before minority interest, including investment writedowns, is expected to be between $23 million and $33 million. Diluted earnings per share on the same basis are expected to be $0.02 to $0.03.
Joe W. Forehand, Accenture chairman and CEO, said, "We are very pleased with our operating performance during the second quarter, especially since we had sharp growth in last year’s second quarter, making for a tough comparison. In a difficult environment, we continued to achieve strong growth in the geographic region comprising Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Moreover, our overall performance was accompanied by improved operating margins compared to last year."
These preliminary results are subject to quarterly review procedures and final reconciliations and adjustments. The company expects to issue its full second-quarter release on April 11, 2002.
Accenture will host a conference call at 8:00 a.m. EST today, Tuesday, March 19, to discuss its preliminary second-quarter fiscal 2002 financial results. To participate, please dial +1 (888) 428-4479 [+1 (719) 447-0008 outside the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico] approximately 15 minutes before the scheduled start of the call.
A replay of the conference call will be available at www.accenture.com, or by dialing +1 (800) 475-6701 [+1 (320) 365-3844 outside the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico] and entering access code 631060 from 11:30 a.m. (EST) Tuesday, March 19 through 11:59 p.m. (EST) Tuesday, April 2.
Accenture is the world’s leading management consulting and technology services organization. Through its network of businesses approach -- in which the company enhances its consulting and outsourcing expertise through alliances, affiliated companies and other capabilities -- Accenture delivers innovations that help clients across all industries quickly realize their visions. With more than 75,000 people in 47 countries, the company generated net revenues of $11.44 billion for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2001. Its home page is www.accenture.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, the accuracy of which is necessarily subject to risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied include general economic conditions and the factors discussed under the heading "Forward-Looking Statements and Certain Factors That May Affect Our Business" in our most recent annual report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.