Capgemini reports sales hike, confirms target

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French computer consultancy Capgemini on Thursday reported an 8.2-percent gain in third-quarter sales and confirmed its profit margin target for 2010.

"We returned as expected to growth in the third quarter and some of our units -- such as financial services -- did very well," said chief executive Paul Hermelin.

But Capgemini shares fall sharply on the Paris exchange and were down 4.53 percent at 34.92 euros around mid-day on a stronger overall market.

Analysts said investors were disappointed in the company's cautious assessment for the second half of the year.

Capgemini in a telephone conference was "very cautious about growth in the second half," said one analyst who asked not to be named.

The company said it was expecting organic sales growth of between 3.5 and 3.7 percent, consistent with market expectations of 3.7 percent.

But Hermelin had earlier confirmed a growth target of "between 3.0 and 5.0 percent" at constant exchange rates, which appeared to have bothered investors.

Analysts cited by Dow Jones Newswires also pointed to the absence of a 2011 outlook, notably as the group did not disclose an operating margin target for next year.

For 2010, Hermelin said, Capgemini foresaw an operating margin of more than 6.5 percent of sales.

© 2010 AFP

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