Accenture's Acquisitive Growth Continues

| About: Accenture plc (ACN)

According to IBISWorld's IT Consulting Market Research Report, the worldwide IT consulting market is estimated to have grown 2% annually from 2008 to 2013 to reach $337 billion. These projections are aggressive when compared with GIA's report, which pegs the IT consulting market to be worth $255 billion by 2015. But while industry estimates vary, most consultants agree that after a few years of economic slowdown, the IT consulting market is gaining back lost ground.

Accenture's Financials

Accenture's (NYSE:ACN) Q4 revenues grew 4% over the year to $7.09 billion, ahead of the Street's projections of $6.9 billion. EPS of $1.01 for the quarter was in line with market projections. By segment, consulting revenues grew 2% over the year to $3.8 billion. Outsourcing revenues grew 6% to $3.3 billion. Overall new bookings grew to $8.4 billion, with 54% of those coming in the outsourcing segment.

Revenues from Health & Public Services grew 12% to $1.18 billion. Revenues from Financial Services grew 3% to $1.52 billion. Product revenues grew 6% to $1.70, and revenues from resources fell 1% to $1.29 billion. Communications, Media & Technology revenues were flat over the year at $1.39 billion.

During the quarter, Accenture repurchased 14.5 million shares for $1.10 billion. Among operating metrics, utilization improved marginally from 87% a year ago to 88%. Attrition for the quarter at 12% was flat over the year. The company ended the year with revenues growing 3% to $28.6 billion. EPS of $4.21 for the year grew 10% compared with the previous year.

For the current quarter, Accenture projects revenues of $7 billion-$7.3 billion, compared with the Street's projections of $7.39 billion. It expects to end the year with revenues growing 2%-6% and EPS of $4.42-$4.54. The market was looking for EPS of $4.51 for the year.

Accenture's Acquisitions and International Expansion

Accenture continued to make acquisitions to expand product offering and international presence. Earlier last quarter, it announced the acquisition of Mortgage Cadence, a provider of loan origination software and electronic document management services. With the acquisition, Accenture will be able to strengthen its mortgage business process outsourcing services by adding an advanced technology platform that will help mortgage lenders increase efficiency while reducing costs.

Within the product life cycle management (PLM) segment, Accenture acquired PRION Group, a consulting and systems integrator that specializes in Siemens PLM Software. PRION is among the leading providers of PLM consultancy services and helps its customers with system implementation, data migration and application management.

Accenture is also growing its international presence through strategic investments and tie-ups. Earlier this month, it announced the purchase of majority stake in Vivere Brasil, a leading national mortgage-processing technology company in Brazil. The acquisition of majority stake will help Accenture expand within the mortgage processing industry in Brazil. According to market reports, mortgage loans in Brazil account for 7% of the gross domestic product, and the segment is projected to be worth 10% of the country's GDP by 2015.

Finally, Accenture entered into a strategic alliance with SAP (NYSE:SAP) to enable customers to procure and implement SAP products through Accenture. Besides benefiting from Accenture's consulting experience, customers will also be able to access end-to-end solutions running on the SAP HANA platform under a single framework. Accenture's stock is trading at $73.51 with a market capitalization of $58.78 billion. It touched a year high of $84.22 in May 2013.