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IT consulting firm Accenture on Thursday forecast first-quarter revenue above analysts' estimates, expecting strong demand for its cloud and security services as companies delay return to offices due to the Delta variant.

Total revenue rose about 24% to $13.42 billion in the fourth quarter, in line with analysts' expectation of $13.42 billion.

For the full financial year, revenues are a record $50.5 billion, an increase of 14% in US dollars and 11% in local currency. Meanwhile, operating margins expanded 40 basis points to 15.1%.

New bookings of the IT major stood at $15 billion for fourth quarter and a record $59.3 billion for full year, a 20% increase in US dollars.

“Our results reflect the dedication and hard work of our 624,000 incredible people, who are laser-focused on creating tangible value for our clients, innovating with our ecosystem, and being the trusted partner of choice on our clients’ transformation journeys," said Julie Sweet Accenture’s CEO.

"We delivered these results while investing in our people and in the capabilities our clients need, now and in the future, and at the same time making progress on our sustainability goals — from progress in inclusion and diversity, to the use of renewable energy now at 50% across the globe, to supporting our communities during these challenging times."

Accenture expects first-quarter revenue to come in between $13.90 billion and $14.35 billion, topping Wall Street estimates of $13.51 billion, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

It said revenue growth was expected in the range of 12% to 15% for fiscal 2022.

Shares of the Dublin, Ireland-based company, which has benefited from pandemic-related restrictions as more enterprises took their businesses online, rose nearly 3% in premarket trading. The shares have gained nearly 28% this year.

Demand for IT consulting services has been on the rise as the surging Delta variant of the coronavirus pushed several companies to extend their work from home policies and adopt hybrid work models.

Accenture which has clients including Fortune Global 500 companies across industries such as health and financial services and media, has made a number of acquisitions over the year to cater to this growing demand.

On an adjusted basis, Accenture earned $2.20 per share, compared with analysts' estimates of $2.19 per share.

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