Noting that global political uncertainty weighed on business sentiment, impacting the IT services industry during the last year, Wipro Chairman Azim Premji today said the company continues to see volatile economic environment ahead. However, clients are looking to spend in technology as it is becoming a major differentiator in all businesses, he said. “Over the last fiscal 2016-17, global political uncertainty weighed on business sentiment, impacting the IT services industry.. Gross revenues of Wipro grew by 7.4 per cent in the fiscal year 2016-17,” Premji said.
Speaking at Wipro’s 71st Annual General Meeting here, he said, “looking ahead, we continue to see volatile economic environment but clients are looking to spend in technology as technology is becoming a major differentiator in all businesses.” Stating that digital is the central element driving changes in the expectations and experiences of consumers and business models, Premji said, “At Wipro, we strongly believe that our success will depend on our ability to redefine and align ourselves with the new global paradigms and the disruptive developments in our industry.”
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“In this context, the company has made significant investments, organic and inorganic, in transforming our business offerings to serve the new demand from clients,” he added. Pointing out that Wipro continually strives to enhance value for investors, Premji said consistent with this approach, the company completed a bonus issue recently. The Board will also consider a proposal to buyback equity shares of the company in the board meeting tomorrow, he said. With this, Wipro joins the growing roaster of Indian IT firms like TCS and Infosys that have announced buyback offers to return surplus cash on their books to their shareholders.
As on March 2017, Wipro had cash and cash equivalents totalling Rs 5,271 crore (USD 813 million) on its books. Highlighting that last year Wipro trained over 39,000 employees in Digital technologies, Premji said, “Our investments in emerging technology spaces of Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics and Digital resulted in 603 patents last year.” On the social impact of the company, he said, “We work in the social sphere not just in India, but also in global markets where we operate.”
“For instance, in the US, where locals constitute over 50 per cent of our employees, we run The Wipro Science Education Fellowship. The Fellowship for teachers in the US has now expanded to the city of Dallas, while we continue to work closely with teachers in Boston, Chicago, New Jersey and New York,” he said. Premji also pointed out that the company was making very satisfactory progress in all its sustainability goals.