Booz Allen 4Q Tops Views, Reveals Special Dividend

Booz Allen Hamilton (NYSE:BAH) beat the Street on Wednesday by revealing surging fiscal fourth-quarter earnings, prompting the consulting company to unveil a special cash dividend.

Shares of the McLean, Va.-based company soared about 13% on the bullish report as well as an upbeat outlook and the dividend plans.

Booz Allen said it earned $50.6 million, or 36 cents a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $18.1 million, or 13 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, it earned 44 cents a share, topping estimates for 41 cents.

The company, which relies on government consulting work for much of its business, said revenue grew by 3.2% to $1.54 billion. Analysts had been calling for revenue of $1.55 billion.

Booz Allen said its operating margin expanded to 6.3% from 5.6%. Its total backlog at the end of the fiscal year stood at $10.8 billion, compared with $10.92 billion the year earlier.

“We continued to grow revenue organically in all of our major government markets -- defense, intelligence, and civil -- and we expanded our commercial and international business this year,” CEO Ralph Shrader said in a statement.

Inspired by the results, Booz Allen announced plans to pay a special cash dividend of $1.50 a share. This dividend is payable on June 29 to shareholders of record as of June 11.

“We will continue to look at the full range of opportunities to strengthen Booz Allen’s strategic position and to evaluate our use of cash,” Shrader said.

Looking ahead, Booz Allen projected full-year EPS of $1.62 to $1.72 and non-GAAP EPS of $1.71 to $1.81. The midpoint of that new range, $1.76, would surpass the Street’s view of $1.72.

Despite a triple-digit slide on Wall Street, shares of Booz Allen leaped 13.51% to $16.89 Wednesday morning, putting them on pace to wipe out a chunk of their 14% 2012 tumble.