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Thursday, 10 January, 2002, 11:31 GMT
Infosys profits beat the gloom
Infosys homepage
Infosys is India's second largest software exporter
By Sanjeev Srivastava in Bombay

India's premier software company , Infosys Technologies, has kicked off the corporate earnings season by announcing a net profit of 2.06bn Rupees ($42.5m; 29.4m) for the last three months of the year.

The numbers mark a 23.8 % jump in profits over the same period the previous year and are in line with analyst expectations.

The firm also announced the addition of 33 new clients in the three month period, a modest increase over the previous three months when the company added 28 clients.

Announcing the results in the south Indian city of Bangalore, the chairman N.R.Narayan Murthy disappointed analysts hoping for some hints about the firm's future outlook.

These short term road blocks have only strengthened the company

N.R.Narayan Murthy, Infosys Chairman
Mr Murthy said the company would not issue guidance on next year's earning estimates until April when the company announces its full year results.

However Mr. Murthy maintained that the market environment remains challenging and it was too early to say whether the economic cycle in the US was turning for the better.

US dependent

Like many Indian technology firms, Infosys earns nearly 70% of its revenues from North America.

A profit warning from Infosys - one of the country's fastest growing firms - resulted in a share price crash amongst many of its peers.

Some analysts were expecting the company to come out with cautiously optimistic guidance today signalling the worst was already behind the software firm.

The Indian software sector is the second largest export earner for the country, earning $6.2bn last year.

Mr Murthy said decision cycles were elongated following the economic slump in the US and September 11.

He also said there was more pressure on billing rates than ever before as customers were becoming more value conscious and continued to remain uncertain about the future.

Long term hopes

Mr. Murthy however said the company was confident about long terms gains.

"These short term road blocks have only strengthened the company and the continued good performance by Infosys even in difficult times shows we are on the right track," Mr. Murthy told an Indian TV channel on Thursday morning.

Infosys stock lost nearly 4% in morning trades as the absence of any positive surprises from the company disappointed short term traders who had purchased the stock in the run up to the results.

But market analysts appeared satisfied with the numbers.

"Stock markets were sort of used to Infosys springing a positive surprise quarter on quarter and the fact that this time the company has not bettered expectations can only be a short term dampener."

"The fact that Infosys is working on cutting costs while still adding new clients and diversifying business should all be good news for investors," Fayeza Feroze, stock analyst with a Bombay brokerage firm Pranav Securities told the BBC News Online on Thursday.

Nandan Nilekani, Infosys managing director
"We continue to believe that India is going to become a major centre in the world for IT"
See also:

10 Oct 01 | Business
Infosys profits beat forecasts
11 Apr 01 | South Asia
Indian stocks slide on software results
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