TCS to take short-term hedges: Cyrus Mistry

cyrus-mistryCyrus Mistry, the new Tata group chairman, chose the annual general meeting of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), which is facing challenges of slowing growth and rupee volatility, for his first address to shareholders.

“TCS has performed well, despite a challenging environment in fiscal 2013. This is because of our focus on being relevant to the government, enterprises and society. We are also very proud of our repeat business,” Mistry (pictured) said at the 18th AGM of the software firm.

He, however, expressed confidence of increased traction and stability in fiscal 2014.

“TCS has a hedging policy to protect the profits of the core business, with regular risk management reviews. We will take short -term hedges, going forward. Thus, overall we expect the rupee depreciation to be positive for TCS, although we will wait for the full year impact,” he said.

On the US Immigration Bill, N Chandrasekaran, chief executive officer of TCS, said, “We are carefully observing the Bill’s progress and will wait for the final version before swinging into action.”

TCS has signed large transformational deals and forged strategic partnerships with clients, and will continue to invest in digital technology of the future, as well as products, platforms and IP-based solutions, Mistry said.

“TCS spent Rs 718 crore on R&D in the last fiscal, and earned returns of 1.4% on it, an increase from last year. TCS is also working on e-governance projects, with Rs 300 crore investment in Passport Seva project. We are also working on a scholarship with the UK government to address concerns of cyber security,” he said. On the e-Serve merger, Mistry said all paperwork was complete, but final deal closure was awaited.

TCS would also invest more and more in non-English speaking countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America as part of its expansion in key emerging markets, he said. Mistry said TCS had the lowest attrition in the industry at 10.6%, and attrition was higher in international locations due to contract-based hiring.

On the H1B visa pressure, Mistry said TCS was beefing up the selection process for its candidates, and is now conducting more intensive pre-visa interview briefing, as well as post interview de-briefing. Keeping with a tradition followed by predecessor Ratan Tata, Mistry, too, patiently addressed shareholders’ questions.

“Ratan Tata has always enjoyed your unstinted support. I request the same from you for myself as well,” Mistry said about his predecessor.

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