MCLEAN, Va. (AP) -- Booz Allen, a management and technology consultant to government and corporate clients, said Wednesday that its fiscal third-quarter earnings fell nearly 11 percent, as billable hours declined amid what it called an "uncertain federal budget environment."
The firm's parent company, Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corp., reported net income of $56.2 million, or 38 cents per share, for the October-December period. That was down from earnings of nearly $62.9 million, or 44 cents per share, in the same quarter a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, the McLean, Va.-based company reported adjusted earnings of 41 cents per share. On that basis, the performance topped the average forecast of analysts surveyed by FactSet, who expected 37 cents per share.
Revenue fell 3.5 percent to $1.39 billion from $1.44 billion in the last three months of 2011. That was below analysts' average forecast for $1.43 billion during the latest quarter.
Shares of Booz Hamilton fell 54 cents, or 3.7 percent, to $14.05 in morning trading. The shares have changed hands in a 52-week range between $11.85 and $19.23.
Booz Hamilton attributed the revenue decline to "lower demand due to market forces." The company said in a statement that the reduced demand "led to a reduction in headcount and a related reduction in billable hours." Booz Hamilton employs about 25,000 people, providing consulting services to the U.S. government in defense, intelligence, and civil markets, and to corporations, institutions, and not-for-profit organizations.
Booz Hamilton is among the government contractors whose business outlooks have been clouded by deficit-reduction negotiations between Congress and the White House and the potential for deep automatic spending cuts.
"We are focused on the things we can control in this uncertain federal budget environment - and there are many," said Ralph Shrader, the company's chairman, CEO and president.
Booz Allen's total backlog as of Dec. 31 was $12.92 billion, up from $12.22 billion at the end of 2011.
For its full fiscal year that ends March 31, Booz Hamilton said it expects revenue to decline "by a low single-digit percentage." The company expects to post adjusted earnings of $1.60 to $1.65 per share, in line with analysts' expectations for $1.63 per share.
Booz Hamilton authorized a regular quarterly cash dividend of 9 cents per share, payable on Feb. 28 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 11.
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