Infosys

On Friday Indian companies will begin posting their results for the quarter ended in September – the first full three-month period under the country’s new, pro-business government.

The latest macroeconomic indicators suggest the economy has picked up following this year’s general election, growing at 5.7 per cent in the three months to June. But if analyst forecasts are anything to go by, only some sectors have received a boost from renewed optimism in India. 

It is like the return of a prodigal son. Infosys, the Indian IT group, hived off its “products, platforms and solutions” business this year into a wholly-owned but independent subsidiary known as EdgeVerve.

The unit was first formed two and a half years ago as part of the group’s efforts to move into higher value businesses. But that strategy – dubbed “Infosys 3.0″ – has taken a back seat in the past year as the focus shifted back to the traditional IT services that are bread and butter for Infosys. Now, as the parent group’s financial results improve and a new group chief executive arrives next month, this young but fast-growing subsidiary is poised to come back into the spotlight. 

Infosys kicked off earnings season on Tuesday morning and inflation numbers were released later in the day, putting the spotlight on business and the macroeconomy in India.

Beyondbrics took a look at the latest opinion polls and the more charismatic but yet less politically active of the Gandhi siblings – Priyanka Gandhi. 

Shares in Infosys, the Indian IT bellwether, dropped sharply on Thursday morning after senior management tempered hopes for growth in the current fiscal year and warned that the company was facing several challenges.

The stock was down 8.4 per cent by 2 pm in Mumbai at Rs3,364. 

After the Bernanke boost, it’s Infosys’s turn. India’s benchmark Nifty index opened up 1.1 per cent at 6,000.50 on Friday, having gained 2 per cent in the previous session on rumblings from the Federal Reserve, as Infosys set the earnings season off to a good start.

Shares in Infosys soared 11.9 per cent to Rs2,833 by 9.30am in Mumbai, after the Indian IT bellwether reported quarterly figures that marginally beat expectations. 

Narayana Murthy, the co-founder of Infosys who returned to the helm of the company just weeks ago, has arrived like Santa Claus -bearing gifts.

The Indian IT bellwether has announced pay hikes for employees as it looks to boost morale at the company and keep up with peers in the industry. 

By Manjeet Kripalani of Gateway House

In his return to the chief’s chair to revive the premier Indian information technology giant Infosys Technologies which he co-founded, N Narayanamurthy is following a well-worked tradition in the corporate world. This return, however, has a new twist: Murthy will be accompanied into the executive suite by his 30-year old computer scientist son, Rohan. 

Shares in Infosys, the Indian IT group, bounced up 5.5 per cent on Monday morning, after the weekend announcement that Narayana Murthy would take back the reins as executive chairman of the board for five years.

But the news is hardly a positive reflection on Indian business culture. Internal age restrictions have been rejigged to allow for the return of the company’s 66-year-old co-founder who is bringing his son in as an executive assistant. If Infosys, a group that prides itself on its professional management methods, behaves like this, then so will other Indian companies. 

In January, unexpectedly positive results from Infosys sent the company’s stock soaring and set the tone for a good run of quarterly earnings for India’s information technology sector.

One quarter later and Infosys has kicked off the full fiscal year earnings season with news that has sent its share price plunging right back to where it used to be. Is this, once again, a sign of what’s to come? 

Despite the threat of fierce protectionism, challenging cultural barriers and major linguistic hurdles, the giants of Indian IT are looking to break into China’s previously closed software and outsourcing industry. 

If Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Ministers David Cameron and Mario Monti came to Davos this week to convince the world the worst is over for Europe, they’ll get an approving nod from at least one Indian participant: “Kris” Gopalakrishnan, the chairman of IT giant Infosys.

“I’m very optimistic on Europe,” Gopalakrishnan told beyondbrics in Davos. “Europe has some great global businesses, and they seem to be doing much better than the overall economy. At some point, Europe will continue to grow. 

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), India’s leading IT services group, reported unexpectedly good profits for the quarter ended in December, confirming hopes that the good news from rival Infosys, which kicked off the earnings season on Friday, wasn’t just a one-off surprise. Even after rising 3.8 per cent on Friday on Infosys’s announcement, TCS was up a further 2.1 per cent on Monday. 

Forecast-beating results from Infosys on Friday prompted the biggest daily gain in the IT company’s shares in a decade and raised hopes of a recovery in confidence in Indian business. 

It may seem no bad thing that India Inc is sitting on a mountain of cash – over $167bn at the end of March for the top listed 500 companies, according to the Economic Times. With the economy slowing and earnings weak  – from State Bank of India to Bharti Airtel – the money might come in useful.

But in reality, the 26 per cent increase in net cash over the past three years is worrying evidence of the concerns India’s corporate leaders have over the economy. With industrial production flat, growth slackening, and inflation running high, these companies are unlikely to spend their reserves anytime soon. 

In a widely expected move, Cognizant Technology Solutions – which is based in the US but operates mostly out of India – overtook Infosys as the IT industry’s second-biggest company by revenues, according to results for the quarter ended in June.

Analysts said such expectation-beating numbers have come to be, well, expected from Cognizant – to such an extent that when it merely meets expectations its stock falters – so there were few surprises contained in the results.