The top five Indian information technology (IT) services providers are expected to post healthy dollar revenue growth in the seasonally strong June quarter, following stable demand from the US and UK, which account for over three-quarters of overall sales of sales.
Margins, however, may come under pressure because of wage increases in April, higher visa costs and a strengthening of the Indian rupee, said analysts.
India’s second largest software exporter Infosys Ltd is widely expected to post a 2-2.5% revenue growth in the three months ended 30 June over the preceding quarter, and also maintain its full-year revenue guidance of 7-9%, as it kicks off the earnings season for Indian IT firms on 11 June.
India’s largest IT services provider, Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS), is estimated to post the highest revenue growth among top software exporters.
“TCS looks like the strongest of the pack, expect at least 5% sequential growth for them not just in June quarter, but also for September,” said an analyst at a foreign brokerage who did not want to be named.
“For Infosys, we expect a slower quarter and expect about 2.4% sequential growth—an improvement from their fourth quarter though. Infosys’s guidance will also be a crucial indicator of whether the recent top-level exits from the company have hurt them or whether it’s business as usual. When someone like a B.G. Srinivas leaves the company, it can have an impact on key client relationships.”
Infosys recently named former SAP board member Vishal Sikka as its first non-founder chief executive. He will join the company on 1 August.
Analysts with Kotak Institutional Equities Research expect “solid 4.6% c/c (constant currency) growth for TCS, while HCL Technologies Ltd will chug along with 3.9% US dollar growth”.
“Certain company-specific issues at Infosys and Wipro Ltd mean they will report revenue growth towards the lower end of the pack. We expect 1.8% and 1% c/c growth for Infosys and Wipro, respectively,” the analysts added in a 30 June note.
Analysts expect Infosys’s “margins to narrow 210 bps (basis points) on account of rupee appreciation, wage hikes and visa costs. Infosys is likely to retain its full-year 7-9% revenue growth guidance”.
One basis point in one hundredth of a percentage point.
TCS, according to the Kotak analysts, will report a “solid quarter with broad-based growth…sequential growth to accelerate to 5.1% (4.6% in constant-currency terms)” but its operating margins may decline by 210 bps due to wage hikes and rupee appreciation.
Hitesh Shah, director of equity research at IDFC Securities Ltd, expects 1-5% sequential growth for the top 5 IT firms due to a healthier demand environment for IT outsourcing in key markets like the US and Europe.“TCS would be at the higher end with about 5% growth and Wipro at the lower end with about 1%. Infosys, TechM (Tech Mahindra Ltd), and HCLT (HCL Technologies) would report 2-3% qoq growth. Small and mid-cap companies are estimated to report a wider gap in qoq USD (US dollar) revenue growth (-3% to +5%),” said Shah. He, however, added that wage hikes, US visa costs and rise in the rupee could affect margin in the June quarter.
Companies that have increased wages from 1 April are likely to report 220-450 bps sequential decline in margins, according to Shah. Hence, those with no wage hikes—TechM and HCL Tech—“are better placed in Q1FY15”.
According to a 30 June note by Motilal Oswal Securities Ltd, revenue growth for Tech Mahindra, Persistent and KPIT Technologies Ltd will be muted, while margins will decline.
Tech Mahindra, the note said, “will suffer from the base effect of Comviva, a single project execution and one-month impact of discontinued BT amortization—collectively upwards of $10m; KPIT is likely to suffer from a change in scope of work from its Telematics account in India; while Persistent is facing a decline in IP-led revenue on a strong 4Q base and also deferral in execution of certain projects due to delayed visa issuance”.
Ashwin Mehta and Pinku Pappan of Nomura Securities Co. Ltd, in a 1 July note, have forecast Infosys to retain its guidance of 7-9% dollar revenue growth for fiscal 2015, and expect TCS to “reiterate its bullish outlook on FY15F growth”, on the back of growth in the US and better growth in the BFSI (banking, financial services and insurance) sector.
Analysts expect Wipro to guide for 2-4% sequential dollar revenue growth in the June quarter on the back of “recent strong deal flow announcements”. They have forecast Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. to “keep its FY14 revenue growth guidance unchanged at 16.5%+ and guide for a 5%+ growth for 3QFY14F”.
On Tuesday, Infosys shares lost 0.30% to close at Rs.3,333.80 apiece on BSE. TCS closed down 1.36% at Rs.2,449.70 per share, while Wipro fell 1.26% to close at Rs.550.65 per share, and HCL Technologies ended down 2.24% at Rs.1,474.25 per share. The BSE IT Index lost 1.05% to close at 9,455.41 points, while the benchmark Sensex ended down 1.98% at 25,582.11 points on Tuesday.