Strong quarterly results have National Bank Financial analyst Richard Tse raising his expectations on Canadian IT consulting juggernaut CGI Inc (CGI Inc Stock Quote, Charts, News, Analysts, Financials TSX:GIB.A). In a Wednesday report to clients, Tse moved his target price from $135 to $140 per share, saying CGI remains a core tech holding. Montreal-based CGI delivered its fiscal first quarter 2023 financials on Wednesday, coming in with revenue up 11.6 per cent year-over-year to $3.45 billion and adjusted EBIT up 6.3 per cent to $554.1 million. The company said its consultants and professionals global workforce increased by ten per cent from a year earlier to 90,250, while bookings were up $0.43 billion to $4.04 billion for a book-to-bill ratio of 117.0 per cent. By the end of the quarter, CGI’s backlog stood at $25.01 billion or 1.9x annual revenue. “Our ongoing investments continued to deliver value for all of our stakeholders, notably in our strong positioning as a trusted partner for clients’ digitization priorities, which contributed to generating over $4 billion in bookings during the quarter, of which one-third were new business,” said President and CEO George D. Schindler in a press release. “CGI’s operational and delivery discipline also contributed to strengthening our robust balance sheet, enabling us to continue driving our build and buy profitable growth strategy,” Schindler said. Looking at the fiscal Q1 numbers, Tse said the $3.45 billion topline was ahead of his forecast at $3.29 billion as well as the consensus at $3.33 billion, while adjusted EPS at $1.66 per share was also above his forecast at $1.61 and the Street at $1.60. Tse pointed to the company's increase in headcount as a leading growth indicator and said that while acquisitions will continue to be a contributor to growth for GIB.A, the company’s organic growth has been even more impressive, at an estimated 7.4 per cent year-over-year for the Q1. “We believe CGI is moving back to its previous growth trajectory (both organic and inorganic) pre COVID,” Tse wrote. “Bottom line, we continue to believe CGI has more potential for outperformance given its combination of growth and defensive attributes (e.g., recurring revenue and cash flow, long-term contracts).” Along with the raised target, Tse reiterated an “Outperform” rating on CGI and said despite the more difficult economic climate, the company is preserving its profit margins and showing prudent cash management. “hile macro headwinds continue to have the potential to moderate investment, we believe CGI’s market position and cost savings/efficiency service offerings combined with its operating prowess offers,” Tse said. At the time of publication, Tse’s new $140 target represented a projected one-year return of 16.6 per cent.