Indian software giant Infosys yesterday posted a higher-than-expected 70 percent jump in fiscal fourth-quarter net income but forecast growth to slow sharply in the year ahead.
The Bangalore-based company, aided by new overseas clients and a tax writeback, saw its profit rise to 11.4 billion rupees (US$266.5 million), or 20.3 rupees per share, in the three months ended March 31, from 6.73 billion rupees, or 12.23 rupees per share, a year earlier.
Sales increased 43.8 percent to 37.7 billion rupees.
"The global IT services industry continues to show strong growth with exciting opportunities and Infosys is well positioned to take advantage of this," Infosys chief executive officer Nandan Nilekani said in a statement.
But the company, India's second-biggest maker of computer software and a pioneer of the outsourcing boom, said sales growth would slow to a range of 22.6 to 24.6 percent in the year ending next March amid a looming slowdown in technnology spending by US firms and a strengthening rupee.
For the 12 months ended March 31, the company's net income jumped 56.6 percent to 38.5 billion rupees, on sales growth of 45.9 percent to 138.9 billion rupees.
The results were closely watched, with analysts looking to the forecasts for next year as an indicator of how the country's flagship industry is facing up to the challenges of rising wages, the rupee's appreciation, the looming US slowdown and a higher tax burden.
Infosys, which has been expanding overseas to be closer to its customers, has increased offshore salaries by about 15 percent for next year, said T.V. Mohandas Pai, head of human resources.
In the year ended last month, the company hired 30,946 employees, raising its workforce to 72,241.
"We are making substantial investments in creating a training engine to support our future growth," Pai said. "By December 2007, we will have the capacity to train 13,500 employees at a time."
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