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France's Capgemini firms up 2021 revenue goals after first quarter

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of Capgemini is pictured during the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris
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(Reuters) -French consulting and IT services provider Capgemini said on Thursday its 2021 revenue growth should exceed the mid-point of its target range after stronger than anticipated first quarter growth driven by its data and cloud business.

Those services, which now account for two thirds of the group's activity, have kept growing at a double-digit rate as more companies go digital because of the pandemic, Chief Executive Aiman Ezzat told reporters.

"Our clients' demand in terms of digital transformation continues to accelerate," he said.

The momentum should carry into the second quarter, Ezzat said, although overall growth was weighed down by the aerospace sector, which has been reeling from the collapse in air travel caused by the pandemic.

Capgemini, which offers consulting, digital, technical and engineering services, reported a 24.2% jump in like-for-like January-March sales to 4.3 billion euros ($5.22 billion) and its boss said 2021 revenue growth should come above the middle of its 7% to 9% target range.

Ezzat said the firm was very concerned about the health crisis in India, where it has 125,000 employees out of its total workforce of 274,500. But with 97% of staff there working from home, Capgemini's operations had not been affected so far, he said.

"I hope that the measures that are being taken in India, especially in terms of lockdowns in cities like Bangalore and New Delhi, will be able to slow down the spread of the virus and that the number of vaccinations will increase with the support of foreign countries," Ezzat added.

French rival Dassault Systemes also offered an upbeat outlook on Wednesday, predicting up to 23% earnings growth for the second quarter and raising its full-year forecast.

($1 = 0.8245 euros)

(Reporting by Kate Entringer and Anait Miridzhanian in Gdansk; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Edmund Blair)