At the No. 2 spot is Canadian IT services player CGI, whose scrip rose 363%. CGI is followed by Accenture (328%), TCS (212%), Mindtree (209%), HCL (208%) and France-based Atos (158%).
After this are three pure-play BPM companies -- EXL, Genpact and WNS, which grew 156%, 125% and 115% respectively.
For Infosys, it is just a 47% increase, and for Wipro 27%. Tech Mahindra, Fujitsu, HP and Unisys bring up the rear, according to HfS. You would have been much better off putting your money in fixed deposits than in these companies.
The returns were calculated as of November. It takes into consideration HCL and Tech Mahindra's share bonus and stock split.
Phil Fersht, CEO of HfS Research, said Cognizant has kept its competitors on the edge with competitive pricing, lower margins, and aggressive and effective sales.
Cognizant CEO Francisco D'Souza in an interview to TOI in August explained the secret sauce that has led to its scorching growth, including adding $1 billion in incremental revenues every year since 2010: "A small number of clients, small number of industries, concentrated in particular regions of the world, and that allows us to be truly intimate with customers. The closer you are to customers, it allows you to sense and respond more quickly as markets change. Second is the opportunity and the room we have created for ourselves to reinvest in the business. And that is not about just the financial structure, about the lower margins compared to competition. Equally, it has created a real discipline in the company around return on investments and making capital allocation in places where we are going to see the bets giving returns."
In 2010, the company surpassed Wipro in revenues, and in 2011, it crossed Infosys' revenues. Cognizant is now trying to position itself as a higher-value player and is working to raise its margins.
CGI has had a build-and-buy strategy, focusing on smaller contract wins, renewals, long term outsourcing contracts, coupled with acquisitions. The company, which counts government, financial services, and health and utilities as its largest verticals, clocked $10.7 billion in revenue in 2016. In 2012, it had acquired UK-based IT services firm Logica for $2.6 billion. The share price performance suggests the deal has paid off.
Accenture's success has much to do with its successful pivot into the new -- digital cloud and security services that now contribute to over 50% of its revenue. It has also made a number of acquisitions over the past two years, and spent $1.7 billion in buyouts in just the 2017 fiscal.