The suspense over Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Power’s managing director and chief executive Ravi Uppal’s next destination is over. Uppal is set to join the Navee n Jindal-led Jindal Steel & Power (JSPL), which would split the post of chairman and managing director to accommodate him.
Jindal, a Congress Member of Parliament, would retain the post of chairman.
The new structure would be effective from October 1, when Uppal would join JSPL. Sources familiar with the development said as managing director, Uppal would initially be in charge of JSPL’s steel and mining ventures. Subsequently, he would also supervise the group’s investments in hydro and thermal power, as well as foreign projects.
Uppal had resigned from L&T last week; his resignation would be effective from September 15. Before joining L&T, Uppal was with the ABB Group for 22 years. Earlier, he had also headed Volvo’s operations in India. An alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Uppal had begun his career at Bharat Heavy Electricals.
Uppal’s resignation from L&T led to speculation that he would join Cairn India as managing director, succeeding Rahul Dhir. At L&T, Uppal headed the most ambitious of the company’s new interests — power equipment. However, L&T recorded slow growth in the business, as many power developers chose to order cheaper equipment from China.
While at L&T, Uppal was widely seen as a successor to Chairman A M Naik. However, things took a different turn when K Venkataramanan was appointed the company’s managing director.
L&T’s market capitalisation stands at Rs 81,043 crore, against JSPL’s Rs 31,274 crore. A few years earlier, JSPL had planned an initial public offering for its power business. But the plan didn’t materialise, owing to adverse market conditions.
At JSPL, Uppal would have a crucial task ahead of him. The company has announced massive expansion plans in the steel, power and mining segments. Uppal would also bring with him immense international experience (he earlier headed ABB’s South Asia business). In the mining sector, JSPL is present in Oman, South Africa, Mozambique and Indonesia.
In 2011-12, the group recorded a turnover of $3.55 billion and cash profit of $1.10 billion. JSPL, with steel production capacity of 3.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), is developing a 1.6-mtpa steel plant, a 810-Mw captive power project at Angul (Odisha), a 3-mtpa steel plant at Patratu (Jharkhand) and a 4-mtpa pellet plant in Odisha.
The company is also developing a 2,400-Mw thermal power project in Chhattisgarh, a 2,640-Mw thermal power plant in Jharkhand and a 5,197-Mw hydro power project in Arunachal Pradesh. Its current installed capacity is 2,298 Mw
With inputs from Katya Naidu