UPDATE 2-Capgemini cuts '09 sales goal, keeps margin
* Q3 sales 1.946 billion euros vs Reuters poll 2.035 bln * Q3 like-for-like sales down 9 pct * Keeps 2009 margin goal, Q4 sales drop seen similar to Q3 * Now eyes 2009 like-for-like sales decline of 5.5 pct * Shares down almost 4 pct (Adds CEO, CFO comments, shares, analysts comments)

Fuente:  www.reuters.com    Fecha:  06.11.2009

PARIS, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Capgemini (CAPP.PA), Europe's largest computer consultancy, lowered its 2009 sales goal on Thursday after posting a worse-than-expected 7.3 percent fall in third-quarter sales, and its shares fell as much as 5 percent.

The French company, which competes for IT budgets with U.S. giant Accenture (ACN.N) and France's Atos Origin (ATOS.PA), kept its full-year profitability goal based on tight cost control.

 Chief Executive Paul Hermelin told a conference call there were signs activity was stabilising and even picking up in some sectors, notably in the United States and financials.

 But the "benefits were not expected to filter through immediately", he said, as clients kept a tight lid on spending.

 Hermelin said he lacked visibility to discuss 2010 prospects though he was "a little bit more optimistic". He said the priority for next year would remain to protect the margin.

 Last month, Accenture said business sentiment was improving but there was still uncertainty despite the growing view that corporate spending was recovering. [ID:nN01292907]

 On Wednesday, Logica (LOG.L), listed in Amsterdam and London, cut its 2009 guidance to reflect continued weak demand for consulting and professional services.

 On a like-for-like basis, sales fell 9 percent in the third quarter and Capgemini saw a similar decline in the fourth.

 For the full year 2009, this now meant a sales decline of 5.5 percent, Hermelin said. Capgemini had previously guided for like-for-like sales to decline by between 3 and 4 percent. 

The company said it still aimed for a 2009 operating margin of around 7 percent of sales.


 Capgemini's third-quarter sales came in at 1.946 billion euros, below the average forecast of 2.035 billion euros in a Reuters poll of seven analysts.

 Sales for outsourcing, which contributes around 40 percent of group revenue, fell 2.7 percent. This reflected the run-down of the TXU contract in the United States.

 Chief Financial Officer Nicolas Dufourcq said revised terms of the large Aspire IT services contract with the British tax authority could shave 100 million euros off revenue in 2010.

 "Disappointing sales with underperformance led by outsourcing ... Questions remain on how Capgemini grows its outsourcing business in 2010/11 given the TXU/Aspire headwinds," said UBS analysts in a note.

 By 1030 GMT, Capgemini shares were off 3.9 percent at 31.22 euros in high volumes, underperforming European technology stocks .SX8P. Capgemini shares trade at 12.4 times estimated 2010 earnings against 10.8 times for Atos Origin.

 Third-quarter sales were down 17 percent in consulting, 11 percent in systems integration and 13.9 percent in local professional services. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; editing by Marcel Michelson and Jon Loades-Carter)