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Huge potential for smart cities in India, says AECOM chief

BS Reporter  |  New Delhi 

AECOM, the world's largest engineering, design, and infrastructure consultancy firm, global revenues $20 billion in 2014, is ramping up its India play by aiming to grow its headcount from 2,500 to 4,000 over five years. Michael S Burke, the chairman and chief executive, said the group, with a presence in 150 countries, planned to build on the Make in India, and programmes to step up its involvement in the infrastructure space across the country.

"We see huge potential for prime minister Narendra Modi's dream of developing in the country. We have done similar development work around the globe," said Burke. is already involved in the development of the Dholera smart city in Gujarat, and has done the design and feasibility study for a smart city in Gurgaon.

Another project that is involved in, the 'Seabird' naval base in Karwar, would lead to creation of first 'green' port-city in the country, executives said.

"Our India business has grown rapidly in the last few years. India revenue is currently pegged around $100 million," said Burke, without specifying how fast he expects India business to grow in the coming years.

Over the last five years has been involved in several mega infrastructure projects with total construction costs of more than $22.5 billion. This includes designing and executing 40 LEED certified buildings, around 5,000 km of highways, 250kms of metro and ten seaports across the country. AECOM has designed the sewerage master plan for Delhi 2030, the new Chandigarh master plan, Kannur International Airport, among others.

It operates out of eight regional offices and project offices across twenty six states. AECOM has two global design development center in India to offer engineering and design services to global clients.

Burke said AECOM, which partners with many global Fortune 500 companies, would work to create a manufacturing base in the country. Eminent banker Deepak Parekh is on AECOM's global advisory board.

Commenting on the level of infrastructure development between India and China, where AECOM has been present for around 10 years, Burke said the country has to do lot of catch up and close the gap. AECOM executives said they found the procurement process in India challenging, given the stress on the lowest bidder.

Globally, AECOM has around 100,000 employees, and has been involved in several marquee projects such as the Ground Zero reconstruction in New York, Rio Olympics, Tokyo Olympics and the London Olympics.

First Published: Fri, March 13 2015. 00:39 IST