May 07, 2012 – United States-based software services firm Cognizant Technology Solutions today posted a net profit of $243.7 million for its first (January-March) quarter in 2012.

The profit represents a 17 percent increase over its $208.3 million profit in the first quarter of 2011, Cognizant said in a statement.

Cognizant, the third largest software services firm in India after Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys, follows a January-December fiscal yearl. Though it is not listed in India, 75 per cent of its over 140,000 employees are based in India and it is often referred to as an Indian entity.

The revenue of the company grew by 24.8 per cent to $1.71 billion in the quarter under review, which was marginally lower than that of Infosys for the same quarter.

Analysts had expected Cognizant to replace Infosys as the second largest IT company in terms of revenue for the quarter with its guidance of $1.7 billion.

Infosys, which follows an April to March fiscal year, registered a 10.5 per cent growth in revenues at $1.77 billion for the January-March quarter.

“We continue to have a healthy long-term outlook for the business. Our clients recognise that in Cognizant, they have a partner with a strong consulting oriented and industry focused front-end team,” Cognizant President Gordon Coburn said.

Cognizant has, however, lowered its revenue guidance for 2012 to at least $7.34 billion (up at least 20 per cent from 2011), from $7.53 billion forecast earlier.

“Due to a slower-than-anticipated acceleration in demand as we entered the second quarter, we are adopting a more conservative stance for the remainder of the year and revising our guidance to at least 20 per cent revenue growth for 2012,” Cognizant Chief Executive Officer Francisco D’Souza said.

The pecking order for the Indian IT services companies, however, may change with Cognizant at the second slot, as it has forecast a revenue outlook of “at least $1.79 billion”.

This is higher than Infosys’ muted guidance of $1.77 billion to $1.78 billion for the April-June quarter.

In the April-June quarter last year, Cognizant for the first time toppled Wipro from its spot as the third largest software exporter in India, with revenues of $1.49 billion.

Cognizant added about 2,800 people (net) during the quarter, taking its global headcount to 140,000 as of March 31, 2012.