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OPERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to Accenture's fourth quarter and full year fiscal 2008 earnings conference call. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question-and-answer session. (OPERATOR INSTRUCTIONS) And as a reminder this conference is being recorded.
I would now like to turn the conference over to our host, the Managing Director of Investor Relations, Mr. Richard Clark.
RICHARD CLARK, MANAGING DIRECTOR, IR, ACCENTURE, LTD.: Thank you, operator, and thank you, everyone, for joining us today on our fourth quarter and full fiscal 2008 earnings announcement. As the operator just mentioned, I'm Richard Clark, Managing Director of Investor Relations. With me this afternoon are: Bill Green, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pamela Craig, our Chief Financial Officer, and Steve Rohleder, our Chief Operating Officer. We hope you have had an opportunity to review the news release we issued a short time ago. Let me quickly outline the agenda for today's call. Bill will begin with an overview of our results. Pam will take you through the financial details, including the income statement and balance sheet, and Steve will add some operational perspective. Pam will then provide our business outlook for the first quarter and full fiscal year 2009, and Bill will close the presentation before we take questions.
As a reminder, when we discuss revenues during today's call we've talking about revenues before reimbursements, or net revenues. Some of the matters we'll discuss in this call are forward-looking, and you should keep in mind that these forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Such risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to general economic conditions and those factors set forth in today's news release and discussed under the risk factors section of our annual report on Form 10K and other SEC filings. Some of you have asked what our approach is around our quarterly announcement. As we enter our new fiscal year, I would like to reiterate our practices.
You should expect that we will hold our earnings calls during the fourth week after the close of each fiscal quarter, except for our first fiscal quarter announcement in December, when we will hold our call during the third week following the close of our first quarter, which is November 30th. You should also expect that our four scheduled earnings releases and regular quarterly conference calls will be when we report our financial results and business outlook. During our call today we will reference certain nonGAAP financial measures which we believe provide useful information for investors. You can find reconciliation of those measures to GAAP on the Investor Relations section of our website at Accenture.com. As always, Accenture assumes no obligation to update the information presented on this conference call. Now let me turn the call over to Bill.
BILL GREEN, CHAIRMAN, CEO, ACCENTURE, LTD.: Thank you, Richard, and thanks, everyone, for joining us today. We continue the momentum we've sheen throughout the year by delivering a strong fourth quarter and closing out an outstanding fiscal 2008 for Accenture. Despite economic turbulence which the events of the past two weeks clearly show as ongoing, clients continue to ask for our help, whether to improve their operational performance to enter new markets, to compete more effectively, or to reinvent or transform their entire business. Here are some of the highlights from the fourth quarter and the year. We delivered very strong quarterly revenues of $6 billion driven by double-digit growth in US dollars across all of our operating groups and geographies. We delivered record annual revenues of $23.4 billion. We grew EPS by 35% for both the quarter and the full year.
We expanded operating margin for both the quarter and the year. We had our highest ever quarterly bookings of $7.7 billion, and our highest ever annual bookings of $26.8 billion, exceeding the top end of our guided range. We generated very strong cash flow of $944 million for the quarter and $2.48 billion for the year. We continue to return cash to shareholders through share repurchases, and we just announced our fourth annual dividend. We ended the year with more than 186,000 people. We have been steadily building a formidable leadership position, investing in our business and gaining market share. It's times like these with the uncertainty in the world markets when we are grateful for having built a strong, diverse and durable business.
We have transformed Accenture over the last five years, and this transformation serves us well. We have a globally diverse and durable business model. We have an operating model that is flexible and responsive. We live and work at the very heart of our clients' businesses and are part of their fabric, and we have tremendous financial strength, a rock solid balance sheet, strong cash flow, and other financial metrics which is unique, powerful, and distinctive. High performance is something we take seriously, not only for our clients, but for our company and our shareholders. Now let me turn the call over to Pam, who will provide more detail on our financial performance.
PAMELA CRAIG, CFO, ACCENTURE, LTD.: Thanks, Bill, and hello, everyone. I'm pleased to tell you more about Accenture's strong fourth quarter and full year financial results. We had outstanding bookings, revenues, earnings, and cash flow for the quarter. This continued the trend of strong results across each of the quarters of our fiscal year. Let me provide additional detail behind the numbers in our income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow. Unless I state otherwise all figures are GAAP except the items that are not part of the financial statements or that are calculations.
Net revenues for the fourth quarter were $6 billion, an increase of 17% in US dollars and 10% in local currency over the period last year. We had strong revenue generation for the quarter, coming in right where we had expected to at the midpoint of our guided range. Consulting revenues were $3.6 billion, an increase of 19% in US dollars and 11% in local currency. We achieved this strong growth even with slightly fewer work days in the quarter compared to last year. Outsourcing revenues were $2.4 billion, an increase of 15% in US dollars and 9% in local currency. Net revenues for the full fiscal year were $23.4 billion, an increase of 19% in US dollars and 11% in local currency. Consulting revenues were $14.1 billion, an increase of 19% in US dollars and 11% in local currency. Outsourcing revenues were $9.3 billion, an increase of 18% in US dollars and 11% in local currency.
In summary, these strong revenue results reflected our ability to navigate the market forces we faced in fiscal 2008 and deliver revenue growth at the upper end of and consistent with our objectives of 9% to 12% in local currency. Moving down the income statement, for the fourth quarter, gross margin was 31.7% compared with 31.2% in the same period last year, a more than 50 basis point expansion driven by higher contract profitability. Gross margin for the full year was 30.7%, consistent with fiscal year 2007, even though we absorbed higher comp increases and slightly lower utilization in fiscal 2008. SG&A costs for the fourth quarter were $1.12 billion, or 18.6% of net revenues. This compares with $945 million or 18.5% of net revenues in last year's fourth quarter. SG&A costs for the full year were $4.15 billion or 17.7% of net revenues. This compares with fiscal year 2007 SG&A expense of $3.52 billion or 17.9% of net revenues. A 20-basis-point reduction from fiscal 2007 and consistent with our objective to grow SG&A at a rate slower than our revenue. Operating income for the fourth quarter increased 22% to $785 million reflecting a 13.1% operating margin. This compares with $642 million, or a 12.6% operating margin in the same period last year, an expansion of more than 50 basis points driven by strong gross margins in the quarter. Full year operating margin was 12.9%, a 20 basis point improvement over fiscal 2007 and within our annual guided range of 12.8% to 13.1%.
Our effective tax rate for the fourth quarter was 31.8%. The year to date effective tax rate was 29.3%, consistent with our guided range of 28% to 30%. Income before minority interest for the fourth quarter was $550 million, compared with $431 million in the same period last year, an increase of 28%. For the fiscal year, income before minority interest was $2.2 billion, compared with $1.7 billion in fiscal 2007, also an increase of 28%. Diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter were $0.67, an increase of $0.17, or 35% over diluted EPS of $0.50 in last year's fourth quarter. We delivered $0.13 of those through effective management of our business broken down as follows. $0.07, or 14%, from strong revenue and operating growth in local currency, $0.05 from a lower tax rate, and $0.03 from a lower share count, partially offset by $0.02 from …