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Corporate Jan 15, 2013

TCS retains numero uno position in IT with 23% rise in profit

By Firstbiz Staff

Tata Consultancy Services , India's No.1 software services exporter, met or beat analysts expectations on most parameters in the third quarter, which is typically a seasonally weak quarter with a 23 percent rise in quarterly profit and reiterated it should beat a closely watched industry growth forecast.

IT-sector analysts Bhavin Shah, CEO, Equirus Securities and Basu Banerjee, of Quant Research told CNBC-TV18 that TCS has retained numero uno position in the IT sector by the sheer size of its results and all-round performance through out the quarter.

TCS appears to be on a strong footing in what is traditionally a soft quarter for the industry, and its chief executive predicted that the coming financial year will be better than the one that ends in March 2013.

India's $100 billion IT services sector is under pressure to sustain growth as clients in key markets, including Europe and the United States, have been keeping a tight grip on tech spending because of global economic uncertainty.

"We are finishing the calendar year very well and look very confident going into the future in Q4 and FY14," chief executive N Chandrasekaran told reporters on Monday, adding he felt positive about clients' technology budgets.

The number of clients contributing $100 million or more annual revenue rose to 16 in the quarter, from 14, TCS said, adding it also won 31 new clients in the period.

The company, which does not give detailed revenue forecasts, said it still expected to beat an industry export revenue growth estimate made by the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM).

In November, NASSCOM said the sector was likely to meet the lower end of its revenue growth outlook of 11-14 percent for the fiscal year to end-March.

TCS said net profit for the three months to December rose to Rs 3550 crore compared with a forecast for Rs 3240 crore.

For the December 2012 quarter, TCS reported increased number of larger active clients at various ticket sizes including $20 million, $50 million, and $100 million. Total active clients rose to 1,051 during the quarter from 1,001 a year ago. The trend is a positive sign as it improves revenue visibility.

BRIGHTER OUTLOOK

Infosys had fuelled expectations the sector may be turning a corner when the second-ranked software group raised its full-year revenue forecast on Friday after new clients and an acceleration in IT spending by existing customers helped it post a stronger-than-expected profit.

TCS' revenue, in dollar terms, rose 3.3 percent quarter-on-quarter to $2.95 billion. That compared with a 6.3 percent rise at Infosys, which was helped by its purchase of Swiss consultancy Lodestone Holdings.
While Infosys reported its fourth consecutive fall in operating margin, TCS clocked a marginal improvement of 50 bps from the previous quarter.

"TCS' results are much better than that of Infosys. The improvement in revenue-mix was all-round lead by a strong volume mix and improvement in constant currency realisation,"Basu Banerjee'of Quant told CNBC-TV18.

Not all agree.

"This quarter's numbers are not that exciting, but the management's commentary on FY14 is more positive," said Rikesh Parikh, vice president for markets strategy and equities at Motilal Oswal Securities in Mumbai.

Shares in TCS, valued at $48 billion, closed 2.2 percent higher at 1334.50 rupees ahead of the results, adding to Friday's 3.8 percent gain on unexpectedly strong results from rival Infosys, which itself ended 3.5 percent higher on Monday. The broader market was up 1.2 percent.

Wipro, the country's No.3 software services provider, may report a quarterly profit gain of 6.7 percent, analysts said. The company, spinning off non-information technology businesses to focus on IT, will announce earnings on January 18.

Fourth-ranked HCL Technologies was expected to report a 44 percent jump in quarterly profit on January 17.

With inputs from Agencies

by Firstbiz Staff

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