The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Alstom recharges batteries

Baroda, Oct. 9 (PTI): French infrastructure giant Alstom said today it was eyeing business worth Rs 800 crore annually from over a dozen upcoming power projects with an estimated capacity addition of 500 MW every year.

“Around 12-15 new projects are coming up in which we will like to bid, including the four smaller ones in Andhra Pradesh and the mega projects in Sipat and Barh,” the company’s country president Krishna Pillai told reporters.

Accordingly, the company has also revised its business strategy for power sector to focus on small plants which are likely to give quick and attractive returns compared to long gestation period of the mega power projects.

He said fresh generation capacity worth 2000 MW each has been approved by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) at Sipat (Chhatisgarh) and Barh (Bihar).

However, no date has been fixed for inviting bids, so in the meantime the company plans to improve its bottomline through smaller projects like a number of gas-based ones coming up in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka of 200-400 MW, he said.

These include the 235 MW GVK Reddy-II at Jegrupadu and 400 MW in Vemagiri (AP) plants for which bids may be invited in the coming months. The company has also evinced interest in the greenfield Maheshwar hydel power project in Madhya Pradesh and a 500 MW Neepco project in Arunachal Pradesh. Pillai said at any given point of time the company is involved in over a dozen projects which are in different stages of completion and at present there are orders for Rs 500 crore which will be completed in the next 15-18 months.

Pillai said the company will focus on plant execution business and its growth plans centre around the factory here which alone is targeting sales of Rs 350 crore by 2005-06.

Alstom had also taken up rehabilitation projects to upgrade old power plants and had a joint venture with National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) for the purpose.

Of the four units of the Korba power plant, rehabilitation of one has started and that of another will begin next month.

“We plan to take up similar projects in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra but a crucial question on rehabilitation relates to financing,” he said.

When queried about the business opportunities in the state electricity projects, he said “the crunch will come on financial terms, it is difficult to accept bankability unless backed by institutions like power finance corporation,” he added. The company is also exporting power equipment to countries like Vietnam, Egypt, Germany and Zimbabwe but the trade has only been incidental as Alstom’s India operations are primarily aimed at market here itself.

“We want to localise as much as possible for projects in India and are trying to build up the volumes here as costs come down by the business generated,” he said.

Alstom has also been providing energy related services which have generated business worth $ 1.5 million annually but so far have been restricted due to finance.

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