There’s some stability; huge uncertainty has been mitigated: Premji.

The company is more optimistic at present about the Indian and the US market, while it is too early to take a call on Europe and Japan, which are also important.

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Bangalore, April 22 Amidst the gloom of the global economic crisis, Wipro Technologies Ltd sees a silver lining in its robust deal pipeline even as pricing pressures and budget cutbacks continue to pose a challenge.

Wipro forecast a decline in IT services revenue for the first quarter in fiscal 2010, but expects the situation to improve in the second-half, and said it now sees more stability in the market.

“We are more optimistic today than we were four weeks ago,” said Mr Azim Premji, Chairman, Wipro. “There is some amount of stability and the huge uncertainty has been significantly mitigated,” he added.

Mr Premji said the company is more optimistic at present about the Indian and the US market, while it is too early to take a call on Europe and Japan, which are also important, he added.

“The pulse one gets is that the funnel is robust,” said Mr Suresh Vaswani, Joint-CEO of Wipro’s IT business. The performance of the company depends on how many customers we win, and how quickly they close deals, he added.

“The real manifestation of what is going to happen in the next few quarters is the deal pipeline. I would believe the third and the fourth quarter looks better based on the deal pipeline,” Mr Vaswani said.

Pressure on pricing, volumes

However, the company would continue to see pressure on pricing and volumes, he said.

Based on its pipeline Wipro has reasons to be optimistic that it would not have to give a negative guidance again, said Mr Girish Paranjpe, Joint CEO of Wipro’s IT business. “But because of delays in order finalisation and unforeseen events that could happen we are not coming out and saying that it will never happen again,” he added.

To honour all offers

Wipro would honour all the 7,000 offers it had made last year, and they would join from May this year, said Mr Pratik Kumar, Corporate Vice-President, Human Resources. He said there would be no salary hike this year. The company has made a few lateral offers this fiscal depending on requirement, but the number is less than 500, he added.

The joining dates would depend on demand generation, and there could be some spillover into the next fiscal, said Mr Kumar. Those who graduated last fiscal and could not join the company would also join during this fiscal, he added.

In fiscal 2009, net employee addition was 2,243 compared with 18,227 in the previous year. Involuntary attrition for the fiscal was 1.9 per cent compared with 0.5 per cent in fiscal 2008. For the fourth quarter, it was 2.6 per cent. Voluntary attrition fell to 11.3 per cent for the period from 16.3 per cent in the previous fiscal. In the fourth quarter, it was 7.9 per cent.

Mr Kumar said Wipro would like to build up the local hiring at its centres in Atlanta and Troy in the US, and also in China during the current fiscal. “There is lot of customer interest in operating from some of these centres. It is a good strategy to invest in the geography we operate,” he said, without giving further details.

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(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated April 23, 2009)
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