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India's Infosys denies report of firing 5,000 staff

A general view shows workers at a cafeteria inside a building at the Infosys campus at the Electronic City area in Bangalore September 4, 20
A general view shows workers at a cafeteria inside a building at the Infosys campus at the Electronic City area in Bangalore September 4, 20

(Reuters) - India's Infosys Ltd said on Friday a newspaper report it was planning to fire up to 5,000 poorly performing workers was "wrong", although it encourages "chronic underperformers" to leave as part of its routine staff management.

The Economic Times newspaper had earlier said Bangalore-based Infosys, India's second-largest software services exporter and an icon in the country's $100 billion outsourcing sector, was sacking up to 5,000 workers to trim costs.

Infosys, which has more than 150,000 staff, said there was no mass lay-off planned at the company and the number of underperformers that could potentially leave was "significantly lower" than the 5,000 mentioned in the paper.

"We have a robust performance management system that includes structured appraisals and performance feedback," it said in a statement. "This is done regularly and is not a one-time event."

Infosys, for years an investor favorite for exceeding its earnings targets, has struggled recently as its big customers cut costs, missing its own revenue guidance in three of the past four quarters.

The software exporter may cut its revenue forecast for the year to March when it reports its December quarter earnings on January 11, as U.S. business clients put off spending and balk at signing big deals.

With about 60 percent of its business in the United States, Infosys is particularly vulnerable to swings in U.S. corporate sentiment and has been hit hard by spending deferrals by the companies in the world's largest economy.

However, Infosys executive co-chairman S. Gopalakrishnan was quoted by other media reports on Friday as saying 2013 would be better than last year for India's export-driven information technology industry.

Gopalakrishnan was quoted as saying brighter prospects for the United States and China would help the IT sector, as he addressed an event for the Infosys Science Foundation on Thursday.

Infosys shares were up 0.1 percent at 0829 GMT at 2,339 rupees, while the broader market index was down 0.2 percent and the IT sub-index was trading 0.5 percent higher.

(Reporting by Harichandan Arakali in BANGALORE and Rafael Nam in MUMBAI; Writing by Sumeet Chatterjee; Editing by Stephen Coates and Alex Richardson)

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