Record breaking quarter for Indian IT services is a given ⁠— all eyes are now on guidance

Record breaking quarter for Indian IT services is a given ⁠— all eyes are now on guidance
HCL Tech (L), Infosys (C) and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) are set to share their Q4 results in AprilIANS/BCCL/BI India
  • After a blockbuster third quarter, analysts are bullish on the performance Indian IT companies between January to March as well.
  • Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), HCL Technologies, Infosys and others are expected to report the best fourth quarter in the last five years.
  • After Accenture’s increase in guidance, analysts are watching Indian players to see how they change their revenue outlook for the future.
As 2021 unfolded, India’s information technology (IT) services majors including Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), HCL Technologies, Infosys, Wipro and Tech Mahindra — the top five players in the software and services industry — reported the best quarter in a decade.

It turns out that the market expects the following three months, January to March 2021, to be as exciting, if not better. This would be the best fourth quarter for the top-tier IT giants in the last five years, the analysts at Motilal Oswal said in a report dated April 4.

Broking firmJan-March growth estimate for tier-I IT companies
Motilal Oswal2.5% to 3.4%
ICICI Direct3% to 4.5%
HDFC Securities3.9%
Edelweiss2% to 6%
Growth estimates are in comparison to the earnings for the quarter ended December 2020

The consensus among IT analysts is that the previous record will be broken. After Accenture raised its full year guidance from 4-6% to 6.5-8.5% in US dollar terms, all eyes are now on how good the outlook is for others.

“The upward guidance revision by IT companies three quarters ago would be followed by upgrades in consensus forecasts for quarters to come,” said financial services firm Edelweiss in its April 1 report.


CompanyAnnual revenue guidance for FY21
TCSDoes not give guidance
HCL Tech2-3%
Tech MahindraHas not shared guidance

Not only are these companies continuing to rake in new deals, but a strong dollar⁠ — 2.99% rise in the value of the greenback in the last one year ⁠— means they will be pulling in higher revenue in rupee terms.

CompanyNew deals from January to March 2021
TCSVodafone, ThreeUK, Skanska
InfosysSiemens, Toyota, Newmont, Google
HCL TechAirbus, Tenneco
WiproCapco, Ampion, Telefonica, Estee Lauder
Tech MahindraTelefonica, Perigord
Source: Media reports

The impact of wages hikes
TCS, HCL Tech, Infosys and Wipro are likely to register a decline in margins due to the wage hikes announced between January and March.

Margins may also bear the impact of employees slowly returning to offices as the hybrid work model comes in play. This includes higher offshoring, lower subcontractor costs and structurally lower travel and marketing costs.

CompanyWage hikeTime of roll out
TCS6-8%March 2021
HCL tech₹700 crore bonus February 2021
Infosys100% variable pay, salary increments and promotionsJanuary 2021
WiproWage hikes for junior employeesJanuary 2021
Tech MahindraSalary hikeJanuary 2021

Meanwhile, the pandemic and the demand for contact-less solutions, both on the employee and customer front, are continuing to move up timelines of digital transformation. “Strong need for digital transformation, not only to structurally cut costs but also to deliver contact-less consumer and employee experiences,” said Nirmal Bang in its report dated March 19.

The stocks of TCS, HCL Tech, Infosys and others have already clocked in a greater quarter between January and March on the back of digital transformation and deal wins. Going forward, guidance may be the differentiating factor for where the share prices will be heading next.

Record breaking quarter for Indian IT services is a given ⁠— all eyes are now on guidance
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