Vishal Sikka Begins With a Bang, Infosys Profit Beats Estimates

Vishal Sikka Begins With a Bang, Infosys Profit Beats Estimates
Infosys shares surged as much as 6.9 per cent on Friday after India's second largest outsourcer beat earnings estimate in the December quarter. Analysts said Q3 results bear the imprint of new chief executive Vishal Sikka, who is the first non-founder head of Infosys.

Infosys has been losing market share and battling high staff attrition rate in the last few quarters as it struggled to compete with more nimble rivals.

Dr Sikka was brought in last year to chart a new strategy for a company that was once a trendsetter for India's more than $100 billion IT outsourcing industry. (Watch: Vishal Sikka on Infosys Q3)

Infosys reported a profit of Rs 3,250 crore on sales of Rs 13,800 crore in the quarter ended December 31, 2014. Brokers polled by NDTV estimated Infosys to report a net profit of Rs 3,151 crore on sales of Rs 13,760 crore.

The big boost was the maintenance of annual sales growth guidance at 7-9 per cent. Many analysts had expected Infosys, which makes more than two-thirds of its sales from clients in the United States and Europe, to marginally cut its forecast of sales growth for the year ending in March 2015 due to currency fluctuations.

Market analyst Ambareesh Baliga told NDTV that maintenance of growth guidance is good news for investors. "Infosys result raises the bar for other IT companies that are yet to come out with numbers," he added.

Infosys also topped analyst estimates on other operational parameters. Operating margins jumped to 26.7 per cent in the December quarter as against 26.1 per cent in the previous quarter. Volume growth at 4.2 per cent was the highest in three years, while employee utilization was highest in 11 years. It also won 59 new clients in the quarter.

Dipan Mehta, member of BSE and NSE, said Infosys has reported "excellent numbers" in the December quarter and volume growth has been "quite impressive". (Watch)

Annualized attrition at Infosys inched up to 20.4 per cent in the three months to December 31, 2014, but the management said there was a drop in absolute numbers.

"In Q3, we saw attrition of about 8,900 from about 10,100 in Q2 and 10,600 in Q1. We are seeing continued drop in attrition which we continue to monitor and continue to be excited about as we look to the future," Dr Sikka said.

Infosys also announced 100 per cent variable bonus for its employees. (Read the full story here)

This is the first time Infosys, India's second biggest outsourcer, has reported its quarterly numbers during market hours. (Read)

The December quarter is seasonally weak because of holidays in the key markets of North America and Europe, but Infosys seems to have bucked the trend, analysts say.

Infosys was the top gainer in the 50-share Nifty index and drove markets higher. Other IT stocks also gained sharply post Infosys result announcement. The IT sub-index jumped 3.5 per cent, outperforming the broader Nifty, which closed 0.6 per cent higher. (Track stock)

Infosys shares ended with 5.1 per cent gains at Rs 2,074 on the NSE. The run-up in the stock is fully justified, Mr Mehta said.

(With agency inputs)


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