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Indian IT Companies Offset Strong Rupee's Impact on Earnings

Indian information technology services companies are managing to offset the impact of a strong currency, the rupee, on earnings, while Middle Eastern investors buy Asian assets. From Hong Kong, VOA's Chen Li has this summary of business news in Asia.

India's IT services and outsourcing companies, whose main market is the United States, have so far managed to counter the impact of a strong rupee on their earnings.

The Indian currency rose nearly seven percent against the U.S. dollar from April to June this year.

S. Ramadorai is chief executive officer of India's largest software services company, Tata Consultancy Services or TCS. He says an increase in outsourcing orders helped offset a decline in export revenues caused by the rupee's appreciation during the quarter.

The company's profit rose 37 percent to $293 million over the same period last year.

"All and all that was in a great performance by TCS in a challenging time," he said. "And we hopefully will continue the performance in the quarters and years ahead."

Another Indian IT services company, Wipro, reported a 16 percent increase in profit to $175 million, for the quarter ending in June.

"The results for the quarter are satisfying considering the strong headwinds faced by us in the form of an appreciating rupee," said Azim Premji, Wipro's chairman.

Middle Eastern companies expanded their investments in the region. Saudi-owned Kingdom Hotel Investments bought two Cambodian hotels for about $35 million from Singapore's Raffles Holdings. The two hotels, the Raffles Hotel Le Royal Phnom Penh and the Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor Siem Reap, will continue to be managed by Raffles.

Kingdom Hotel Investments, which is controlled by the Saudi Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal, says it plans to increase investments in Asia, particularly in China.

Orascom Construction Industries of Egypt says it will acquire a 50 percent stake in North Korea's Sangwon Cement for $115 million. Orascom wants to raise the plant's capacity to three million tons a year.

Toyota became the world's top selling carmaker in the first half of the year, overtaking U.S. rival General Motors. The Japanese company says it sold 4.71 million units worldwide, compared with the 4.67 million sold by G.M. in the same period.

Another Japanese car company, Honda, says it is increasing production capacity worldwide to match growing demand. Honda says it will open a second manufacturing plant in Thailand and a research and development center in China to design a new vehicle for the fast growing Chinese market.