Public sector aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has achieved an all-time record turnover of Rs 19,705 crore, according to the company’s audited results that its Board of Directors approved on Monday.
HAL announced it registered a turnover growth of 7.8 per cent for financial year 2018-19 from Rs 18,284 crore in the corresponding period of the previous year.
The company logged a profit after tax of Rs 2,282 crore, a healthy 14.8 per cent rise over the preceding year’s profit of Rs 1,987 crore. HAL has already paid an interim dividend of Rs 662 crore for the year 2018-19.
The company’s order book position as on March 31, 2019, was Rs 58,000 crore. This includes a Rs 5,000 crore order for building the last 12 Sukhoi-30MKIs and another Rs 10,000 for HAL’s helicopter division for two variants of the Dhruv advanced light helicopter (ALH) — 40 for the army and air force; and another 32 for the navy and coast guard.
HAL has already supplied 159 Dhruv ALHs to the army and air force. With its helicopter division building 24 Dhruv’s each year, the current orders will keep its production lines busy till 2022-23.
Another 20 Cheetal helicopters are being built for the air force and eight Chetaks for the navy.
With the Sukhoi-30MKI production lines set to complete delivery of 222 fighters in a year, the Nashik plant where they are built — the company’s cash cow — will switch to overhauling Sukhoi-30MKIs that have completed 1,500 flying hours.
HAL sees its future revenue stream mainly in the Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA) and the eponymous light combat helicopter (LCH).
While it already has orders for 20 more Tejas LCA Mark 1 fighters, an approximately 50,000 crore order for 83 Tejas Mark 1A is “in the pipeline”, defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman had told Parliament.
The army and air force have projected a requirement for 179 LCHs. With its Rs 231 crore price tag, that amounts to an order worth more than Rs 40,000 crore. These will be built on a new assembly line, probably in Tumkur.
“HAL expects fresh orders for light combat aircraft and light combat helicopters in the current financial year,” it announced on Monday.
The company is also awaiting big orders in the single-engine, light utility helicopter (LUH) segment. HAL has formed a joint venture called Indo-Russian Helicopters Ltd with Russian Helicopters and Rosoboronexport — Russia’s arms export agency. This JV is slated to manufacture 200 light helicopters under an Indo-Russian inter-government agreement (IGI).
Meanwhile, HAL is close to certifying its indigenously developed LUH, of which 187 are slated to be built for the three services.
HAL continues to grapple with the problem of large unpaid dues from the air force. At the close of the financial year, these amounted to almost Rs 20,000 crore – a year’s turnover. This causes HAL periodic cash flow problems, with has included being forced to take a bank loan to pay salaries in the New Year.