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Sikka says Infosys to beat industry growth rate in 18-30 months

Once an IT bellwether, Infosys expects to regain its premier status and beat industry growth rates in the next 18 to 30 months.

The over USD 8 billion company’s market performance has been improving with every quarter and its latest quarterly results are reflective of that, says its CEO Vishal Sikka.

“I would say another one and a half to two and a half years to beat the industry growth rate,” Sikka told PTI.

He was asked about the time Infosys will take to regain its bellwether status and beat IT-ITeS industry growth rate.

Sikka, the first non-founder CEO of Infosys, was brought from German software major SAP last year to revive the company’s fortunes.

“We had given a timeline. When Mr Murthy came back, he had given a three-year timeline starting with June 2013. I would say we are about half way into it and you have to give us a couple of years to finish that work,” he added.

Nasscom, which represents over USD 120 billion IT-ITeS industry, expects the sector’s exports to grow by 13-15 percent in 2014-15 fiscal as against 13 percent in 2013-14.

On the other hand, Infosys has given a revenue guidance of 7-9 percent in USD terms and 5.6-7.6 percent in rupee terms for the current financial year.

Substantiating his statement, Sikka said the firm has USD 5.53 billion is cash, zero debt and strong margin performance in the quarter.

“We increased our utilisation to 82.7 percent in the quarter. This was the highest level that we have seen in the last 11 years in any quarters. Our volume growth was 4.2 percent. This is the highest sequential volume growth in the last 3 years over any quarter,” he said.

Beating market expectations, Infosys had reported a 13 percent jump in consolidated net profit for the third quarter at Rs 3,250 crore, helped by increase in business and clients from North America, as also from India.

The firm’s consolidated revenue rose 5.9 percent to Rs 13,796 crore in the quarter ended December 31, while it maintained its revenue outlook for the entire fiscal.

Increasing its focus on software products and new age solutions like Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Infosys also said it has expanded its innovation fund from the USD 100 million to USD 500 million, which will be used to invest in young firms world-wide.

Infosys is a learning, knowledge-driven company and the ability to learn new capabilities is crucial to its progress, Sikka said.

In October last year, he had said that the Bangalore-based firm’s longterm target was to grow in the 15-18 percent range, while a meaningful revival in the business would be visible within the next two years.

He said the company wants to up the ante on innovation in areas of big data, automation, artificial intelligence and so on.

Explaining further on the stress on new technologies and innovation, he said: “Of course we are happy about it, but it is a very early indication that things are working. Earlier I was talking about the Artificial Intelligence (AI) projects that we are working on.

“I think we have 11 or 12 purely AI oriented projects going on and total in the company about 23,000 projects are going on. So, there is a huge difference. It will take time for these ideas, these technologies to make way into the mainstream.”

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