Analysts at brokerage firms today said the transition and exit of key managers at Infosys and Wipro and the economic slowdown have separated the leaders from the laggards in the IT industry nearly halfway into the 2011-12 financial year.
"A clear separation between the leaders and laggards is emerging, with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Cognizant racing ahead of Infosys and Wipro. This polarisation becomes even more visible during a slowdown," said an analyst at a multinational brokerage firm.
JP Morgan analysts Viju K George and Amit Sharma wrote in a report last week that the downturn is causing further separation among the top four technology firms in the country.
Analysts further said the transition period at Infosys and Wipro has given TCS and Cognizant the opportunity to increase their lead.
"Infosys and Wipro are no longer the leaders because there is a transition at the top level... Banker K V Kamath has just assumed charge at Infosys and Wipro has sole boss T K Kurien after the company decided to abandon its co-CEO model," said another analyst at a brokerage firm.
In 2001-02, for instance, TCS, Wipro, Infosys, Cognizant and HCL broke away from the pack and formed the new top order.
Later, the 2008 Lehman crisis led to Wipro falling behind and Cognizant surging ahead, the analysts said.
Earlier this month, Citi and Goldman downgraded India's top IT stocks in what they described as a response to the worsening macro-economic situation in the world's largest outsourcing markets, the US and Europe.
Goldman Sachs predicted that TCS and Cognizant will see their sales grow by 20 per cent and 27 per cent, respectively, up to 2013.
In the case of Infosys and Wipro, the growth rate would be 16 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively. Over the past five quarters, TCS and Cognizant have grown revenues faster than Infosys or Wipro.
During the quarter ended June, while TCS and Cognizant grew revenues by 7.5 per cent and 8.3 per cent, respectively, Infosys could achieve only a 4.3 per cent increase in its top-line and Wipro a 0.5 per cent jump.
While Infosys' new CEO S D Shibulal