Companies & Sectors
Infosys will set tone for IT Q3; revenue guidance expected to be upped

Expect IT to zoom if Infosys’ sequential growth is above 7%, ups it dollar revenue guidance for the year above 26%, and gives positive vibes on IT budgets and discretionary spending

Expectations are high on Q3 results and all eyes are focused on information technology, particularly Infosys, which is traditionally among the first to announce its performance. The sector generates special interest because of some important factors like volume growth, (broad-based is better than concentrated), pricing trend (that is not expected to improve), revenue growth in discretionary spend areas (positive expectations), the deal pipeline (and size), net hiring (has been going up), utilisation and attrition. Attrition, which was upwards of 20% for the IT sector in the September quarter, is expected to come down to below 18% for the December quarter.

Strong dollar revenue growth is expected from Tier-1 companies. However, it may not be as strong as it was in the September quarter. TCS, Wipro, Infosys and HCL Technologies are expected to post 5-6% quarter-on-quarter growth.

The banking, financial services & insurance, and retail verticals will probably continue to lead demand revival, while telecom and manufacturing may remain subdued. (The four verticals make up 80% of the business of Indian IT companies.)

The rupee appreciation is expected to play spoilsport. Motilal Oswal says in its preview of the IT sector, "In 3QFY11 the rupee appreciated about 3.3% sequentially and this is expected to play a key role in a 30-50 basis points drop in margins for top-tier companies. Companies like Infosys and TCS have a near 40 basis points EBIT sensitivity to a one percentage point change in the rupee/dollar. We expect no revival in HCL Tech's EBITDA margins, though it has maximum upside on margins due to levers like utilisation, SGA (selling, general and administrative expenses) and the employee pyramid." However, not everybody is expecting a margins drop.

There are no real hopes of any price increase this quarter. Headcount additions are expected to be strong.

Infosys Technologies (Q3)

Infosys, India's second largest IT company by sales, had given guidance for dollar revenue growth of 3.4%-4.4% quarter-on-quarter, but most expect it to produce one of the strongest figures among Tier-1 IT companies at more than 6%. Margins are expected to appreciate a bit; volumes could be higher by more than 6%. Infosys will probably manage margins by controlling SGA expenses. CLSA believes that the absence of visa costs should drive a positive surprise on margins.

It is expected to upgrade its dollar revenue guidance (24-25% in 2QFY11). However, this upgrade may not be very aggressive given that fourth quarter (March) revenues usually tend to decelerate over the December quarter. Rupee EPS guidance could be revised upwards of Rs 120 (currently at Rs 117).

HCL Technologies (Q2)

HCL's infrastructure management segment is expected to give good returns. Forex losses may be behind it from this quarter onwards.

TCS (Q3)
Like Infosys, TCS is expected to grow more than 6% (revenue in dollars) quarter-on-quarter with a 6% plus volume growth. Motilal says, "TCS' continued cost aggression over the past six quarters leaves it with limited cushion for margin upsides."

Wipro (Q3)

Revenue growth is expected at around 5.5% at the higher end of its guidance. Watch out for impact of promotions on IT margins, attrition and the next quarter's guidance.

Even though large-cap IT stocks look fairly valued at 20-23 times their one-year forward earnings, there is a lot of interest in them at the moment because of the belief that there is an upside for their earnings. The two biggest risks for the sector continue to be the significant rupee appreciation and a sudden fall in US growth rate.


Rural India to be new engine for double-digit growth: KV Kamath

Thrissur: India's current economic growth would continue for at least 15-20 years and rural India would be the new engine for a double-digit growth, reports PTI quoting chairman of the ICICI Bank KV Kamath.

Delivering the third VO Abraham Memorial lecture on "The Dawn of the Indian Decade: 2010-2020' here last night Mr Kamath said that this would be India's decade.

India would also emerge as the largest contributor to the global workforce and global innovations in the current decade, he said.

The shares traded at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE -100 index) was at $28 billion in 1995, shot up to $84 billion in 2000 and $170 billion in 20l0.

The net profits over the transactions were which was $3 billion in 1995, rose to $4 billion in 2000 and $20 billion in 2010, he observed.

Despite the global recession, the country's per capita income has gone up to $1,000 from $500 during the past five years, which is a tremendous achievement, he said.

India is poised for another steep change in the decade based on domestic drivers and growing global relevance, Mr Kamath said, adding that key priority should be given for infrastructural development-roads, rails, power, ports, airports and other basic factors.


State tries to pull the plug on transparency, activists cry foul

The Maharashtra government wants police officials not to record phone calls and ‘unofficial’ visits from politicians and ministers. But activists, retired senior police officers and citizens won’t take this issue lying down

These may not exactly be the best of times for the current UPA government.

Badgered by questions from the judiciary, the common people, activists and investigating agencies, the Centre has become increasingly defensive, and has resorted to do everything to stifle the simmering dissent.

However, activists and citizens are not giving up so easily, and are determined to fight the government all the way.

After a 2010 circular, that instructs Maharashtra police officers not to record phone calls and unofficial visits from politicians and ministers has surfaced, protests have been recorded from all corners.

Now, some activists are planning to drag the government to court if it fails to scrap the diktat.

Bhagwanji Raiyani, a social activist, has decided to file a public interest litigation (PIL) against the state authorities, including the chief minister, if the notification is not quashed.

In a letter to chief minister (CM) Prithviraj Chavan, state home minister RR Patil and director general of police D Sivanandan, Mr Raiyani has said, "I will file a PIL in the Bombay High Court, making all of you as party respondents for quashing the illegal notification."

Apart from the activist, retired IPS officer Julio Ribeiro has also decided to file a PIL against the arbitrary order. On behalf of his organisation, the Public Concern for Government Trust, he has drafted a letter for the state authorities, and has decided to file a PIL if the order is not repealed.

The retired ace cop said, "I am very happy that someone has decided to take a legal step. These orders will only make the system more corrupt and will cause increasing interference in investigations, while letting the politicians go scot-free."

Politicians' unofficial 'visits and requests' became public knowledge when IPS officer Yogesh Pratap Singh resigned from his job a few years back. Every police station keeps a record of such visits and calls and these records have been forwarded to courts for various cases.

The notification, which surfaced just a few days back, was issued in 2010. The move, as it is said, was meant for the benefit of friends of former CM Vilasrao Deshmukh. These friends of the former CM were accused of cheating farmers in Vidarbha, a backward region in Maharashtra.

When some legislators complained that their names featured in police records, the then deputy CM Mr Patil assured them that the matter will be "looked into." The order, signed by IPS officer Gulabrao Pol, thus made its appearance, and was accompanied by a call by from Mantralaya (the state government's headquarters in south Mumbai) to the superintendent of police, requesting him not to file an FIR.

Even though the SP complied with the "request", he noted down details about the call in the official records.

Subsequently, Mr Deshmukh was penalised by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court for trying to cover up for Gokulchand Sananda, the father of Congress legislator Dilip Sananda. The Supreme Court too, upheld the ruling and fined the state government Rs10 lakh.

The order becomes significant in the backdrop of the current ruckus regarding slain cop Hemant Karkare's phone conversation with Congress secretary Digvijay Singh, reportedly over Hindu right-wing parties. In the absence of proper call records, no verification can be made of Mr Singh's claim.

Mr Raiyani said, "In light of the Supreme Court judgement, the said notification can't survive the legal test. Somebody will soon challenge the same. It is against the fundamental right(s) of the people to know the truth under Article (19) of our Constitution as well as The Right to Information Act, 2005."

It lies in the interest of the already beleaguered government to do the right thing in order to re-establish its tarnished credibility. Otherwise, the ostrich-in-the-sand approach is not going to take them anywhere in a hurry.



Babubhai Vaghela

6 years ago

There should be no need for PIL that would unduly increase load of High Court. Rather, Govt act in a prudent manner and withdraw the illegal circular without further loss of time.

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