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Andreas in Gainers & Losers,

Investment idea - ​Accenture

Accenture, a major international consulting company, recently announced the acquisition of Cloud Sherpas, a leading cloud service provider. The deal will strengthen Accenture’s position on the cloud technology market. Moreover, it was reported earlier that Accenture and Amazon formed a joint business group to help clients more quickly move their business to Amazon’s cloud. This initiative will help Accenture’s clients to significantly reduce their costs, and expand the list of clients, thus improving the company’s financial performance. Accenture posted strong results for 4Q15. Revenue rose 1.4% y-o-y to USD 7.889 bn, outpacing the consensus of USD 7.648 bn. Notably, revenue outstripped the management’s forecast of USD 7.45-7.70 bn due to a 4% increase in consulting income (up to USD 4.2 bn), which offset a 1% decrease in revenues from outsourcing services (up to USD 3.7 bn). Media and Communications, Health Care and Finance became growth drivers. Geographically, revenue in North America jumped 10%, while revenue in Europe and the emerging markets (Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Middle East, Turkey and Russia) decreased by 4% and 7%, respectively, mainly due to the strengthening dollar. The order book was valued at USD 8.8 bn in the reporting quarter. Operating profit remained virtually unchanged at USD 1.09 bn in annual terms, while operating margin reached 13.9%. EPS was up 6.5% to USD 1.15, outpacing median forecast of Wall Street analysts of USD 1.11.

Accenture generated free cash flow worth USD 1.4 bn and spent USD 664 bn for buyback. In addition, the company’s management approved expansion of the existing buyback program by USD 5 bn. Accenture raised semi-annual dividend by 8% to USD 1.1 per share, implying a 2.2% dividend yield.

Accenture released its forecast for FY16. Annual revenue will increase by 5-8% in local currencies. EPS will rise to USD 5.09-5.24. The company expects its operating margin to reach 14.6-14.8%. FCF will amount to USD 3.6-3.9 bn.

Robust results, especially in the banking, insurance and health care sectors, point to stable demand for the company’s services. Recent acquisitions and agreements in the field of cloud computing will further strengthen the company's position. We raised our target price for Accenture shares to USD 110 and believe that the name provides an attractive mid-term investment opportunity. The short-term technical target is USD 105.