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Mumbai, Jan 24: For the fourth consecutive year, software major Infosys topped the ACNielsen Corporate Reputation Index, according to the 2006 ACNielsen Corporate Image Monitor.

Two other IT giants -- Wipro and TCS -- featured among the top 10 most favourable companies, while the IT industry retained its position as the most reputed sector.

The ACNielsen Corporate Image Monitor is an annual syndicated study conducted by ACNielsen ORG-MARG. The study is conducted and designed to measure key perceptions of the performance of leading corporations in India, to help benchmark company image and reputation.

"The IT sector is very well perceived by Indians. This year, even auto and steel companies have started to make their presence felt," said Prasenjit Das, associate director, ACNielsen, India.

In its sixth edition, the ACNielsen Corporate Image Monitor reflects the significant improvements witnessed by the auto industry in the past two years.

In this round, there are two automotive companies -- Bajaj Auto (3rd) and Maruti Udyog Ltd (9th) -- in the top 10 of the Corporate Reputation Index. Tata Steel, the only steel manufacturer in the list, has improved significantly from last year.

Overall, the impression of the top 20 companies improved significantly in 2006. The average Net Image Goodwill, which the study computes on the basis of the net of positive and net of negative rating on all dimensions for the companies, shows the average NIG of the top 20 companies saw a sharp improvement to 29 per cent in 2006 from 23 percent in 2005.

Companies with sharp improvements this year were Bajaj Auto (from 9th to 3rd position), HLL (from 10th to 4th position) and Tata Steel (from 14th to 7th position). ICICI Bank is the sole entrant from the banking sector in the top 10.

Meanwhile, respondents were optimistic about the future of all these companies, with most expecting high or stable future growth for almost all the 20 companies studied. The sense of optimism was most buoyant for IT companies, with the IT sector taking the top three places in the 'Opinion about the Future'.

To capture the growing importance of Corporate Social Responsibility across boardrooms in India, the ACNielsen Corporate Image Monitor recently added CSR as an additional measurement dimension.

Infosys, Tata Steel and Wipro were rated as the three most socially responsible corporations. Tata Steel holds a much higher rank in CSR when compared to its overall standing in terms of corporate image.

"Nearly three quarters of respondents interviewed feel that companies in India today have become socially more responsible," Das added.


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