Friday witnessed the first face-to-face encounter of shareholders with Cyrus Mistry,chairman of Tata Sons. Ratan Tata’s soft-spoken,friendly demeanour was replaced by Mistry’s serious and precise speech. Patiently answering all the the questions,Mistry made a polite request: Ratan Tata has enjoyed unstinted support,I request you the same. Sending out a positive message to the shareholders of India’s largest software exporter,Mistry said,FY14 is expected to look better from the economic environment perspective than last year. TCS will continue to look at newer geographies for expansion and invest in newer technologies such as product platforms and intellectual property. Mistry also reinforced TCS’ view of being relevant to the customer. “The global IT spend for 2012 was $1.9 trillion,growing at 4.2% annually whereas ITes spends were $1 trillion for the year,” said Mistry. “TCS believes ITes has high visibility and the company is well placed for this,” he added.
TCS spent over R700 crore,or 1.4% of its total turnover,on research & development and R72 crore on corporate social responsibility activity in the financial year 2013. Separately,answering a the shareholders’ question on why there was no lady director on the board,Mistry said,Hope to soon make sure that we have a lady director on board. Allaying shareholders concern on the high rate of visa rejections,Mistry pointed out the various measures that the company was undertaking. We select the candidates through a rigorous procedure and subsequently take them through a debrief session following the visa interview.
Shareholders seem to have taken a liking to their new chairman. Cyrus seems to be a dynamic leader but Ratan Tata was,of course,a legend, said a shareholder present at the AGM. Cyrus will reach that level soon and probably have the same vision as Ratan Tata, said another one.
Following the AGM,N Chandrasekaran,CEO and MD,TCS,answered questions on the US immigration Bill and the rupees depreciation. As far as the immigration Bill is concerned,it has to go through multiple stages before it gets drafted. The US Congress is very carefully looking at it. We will wait till the Bill moves ahead before we prepare ourselves, he said. “A highly volatile rupee is not in anybody’s interest,though,overall it will have a positive impact, says Chandrasekaran. We have a risk management committee that keeps reviewing the situation and currently we have a taken a short-term hedging strategy, he added. TCS posted a 28.8% rise in its annual revenues for FY13 to R62,989 crore. The company’s net profit stood at R13,917 crore,an annual rise of 33.6%.