I remain upbeat about the shares of Accenture (ACN), a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing firm. Recently, the company completed the acquisition of DayNine, a leading global Workday consulting and deployment services provider with vast expertise in helping organizations transform their employee experience and financial management systems to better navigate change and drive growth. The acquisition extends Accenture’s already strong position in Workday and provides new value for clients.
To note, M&A deals have been an important part of Accenture’s growth strategy. Earlier, the company bought Canada-based Nashco Consulting, which should strengthens its position as a leader in the ServiceNow partner ecosystem. Besides, in early November, Accenture acquired privately held Australia-based consulting firm Redcore that specializes in providing identity and access management services (IAM), as well as security services for cloud, network management, public key infrastructure, cyber defense, applications and the Internet of Things.
Accenture’s financials for its fiscal 2016 fourth quarter ended August 31 were solid, with both revenues and earnings surpassing consensus estimates. Net revenues increased 9% y-o-y in local currency driven by improvements in all segments and almost all geographical markets. Operating income grew 9.2%, and adjusted earnings per share jumped 14% to $1.31. In FQ4, Accenture repurchased 5.6 mn shares for $640 mn. Besides, the company raised its semi-annual cash dividend by 10% to $1.21 per share, which offers a healthy annualized dividend yield of 2.1%.
Accenture also provided encouraging guidance for fiscal 2017. Net revenue growth is expected in the range of 5-8% in local currency, and EPS is forecast to be within $5.75-5.98. For fiscal 2017, the company expects operating margin of 14.7-14.9% and effective tax rate of 22-24%. Accenture also anticipates operating cash flow in the range of $4.6-4.9 bn.
Accenture’s shares are trading above $115 support level and, I expect, will resume growth, with medium-term target at $130.