India's Infosys second quarter profit up 7.5 %

BANGALORE: Infosys Technologies, India's second-biggest software firm, posted Friday a surprise 7.5 percent quarterly jump innet profit as a better global economy eased pressure on the company to cut prices.

Net profit rose to a better-than-expected 15.4 billion rupees (330 million dollars) for the second quarter to September, up from 14.32 billion rupees a year earlier.

Kicking off India's quarterly earnings season the firm said revenues climbed three percent to 55.8 billion rupees, Bangalore-based Infosys said in a statement. The figures were based on Indian accounting norms.

Analysts had forecast the company to post a profit for the three months of nearly 15 billion rupees.

The business environment is "definitely improving," chief executive Kris Gopalakrishnan said, adding that clients were looking to make investments when the downturn ends.

Infosys, which had been easing prices to keep customers and attract new ones in the key US and European markets during the global financial crisis, added 35 new clients during the quarter.

Under US accounting norms, Infosys's profit fell 0.9 percent to 317 million dollars on revenues of 1.15 billion dollars.

Infosys has raised its revenue outlook by about two percent, forecasting consolidated full-year revenues in the range of 4.6-4.62 billion dollars.

Infosys shares rose nearly four percent after the results to a day's high of 2,293.65 rupees at the Mumbai stock exchange, before retracing to 2,241, up 29.75 rupees or 1.35 percent.

The company hired a net 1,548 employees during the quarter.

"We are confident about the future, Gopalkrishnan told Indian television channel CNBC-TV18.

"We await fresh annual budgets (for US clients) to see how things will go from here," he said, but added that, "Customers are starting to spend more.

"The pricing environment seems to have stabilised," Infosys chief operating officer S.D. Shibulal said in the company statement.

Infosys, founded by a group of software professionals, is a pioneer of India's outsourcing industry that has helped lead the country's emergence as a major emerging economic power.

It was the first of India's "big four" information technology companies to report second-quarter earnings.