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HCL Tech third-quarter profit jumps 73 percent, beats estimates

By Harichandan Arakali

BANGALORE (Reuters) - HCL Technologies Ltd, India's fourth-biggest software services provider, beat analysts' estimates with a 73 percent rise in quarterly profit after winning orders and reducing staff for the second quarter in a row.

Net profit rose to 10.4 billion rupees ($193 million) in its fiscal third-quarter ended March 31 from 6 billion rupees in the year-earlier period, said HCL Technologies, whose customers include Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia Oyj.

The result compared with the average forecast of 9.35 billion rupees in a survey of 16 analysts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. HCL follows a July-June fiscal year.

It was also much faster than a 3 percent rise in quarterly profit at larger rival Infosys Ltd, which has been losing market share to the likes of HCL and industry leader Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS). Shares of Infosys plunged 21 percent on Friday after it issued lower-than-expected revenue guidance.

TCS is due to report March quarter results later on Wednesday.

During the quarter, HCL added 37 customers. The company reduced 791 staff, taking the total to 84,403 from 85,194 at the end of the December quarter, maintaining tight control of headcount after shedding jobs in the previous quarter as well.

The future of the IT industry lies in transforming traditional outsourcing into higher-value services that solve business problems with technology innovations, Vice Chairman Vineet Nayar said in a statement.

Exports in India's $108 billion IT outsourcing industry rose 10.2 percent in the fiscal year that ended in March, according to the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM). The industry group expects export growth of 12 to 14 percent in the fiscal year that started this month.

(Reporting By Harichandan Arakali; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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