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15% Of Bechtel Turnover To Come From India

BSCAL 

India will contribute about 15 per cent of the global turnover of US-based $12 billion engineering giant Bechtel Group, Inc, for the next four to five years, says group chairman and chief executive officer Riley P Bechtel.

India is as attractive a market opportunity as any in other parts of the world, said Bechtel, adding, Indias contribution is expected to be around 10 per cent to 15 per cent of our total turnover. We will do well to maintain that proportion of our turnover in India in the next four to five years.

Bechtel, a fourth-generation CEO from the Bechtel family, is on a three-day visit to India to attend the groups centennial celebrations. He said the group was bullish on India and was not worried about short-term glitches.

We are very blessed in the sector we are in, because infrastructure is a key priority for all political parties. We are confident that the trendline will lead to more liberalisation, irrespective of the outcome of elections, said Bechtel.

Commenting on the Bharatiya Janata Party manifesto, which stipulates greater protection to the domestic industry and phased integration with the international economy, Bechtel said it would not affect the groups operations in any way.

Bechtel declined to speculate on the impact of the manifesto on foreign investor sentiment, but said: What the government will finally do will decide foreign investment. Markets around the world are very sophisticated and will be swift in their response.

He added that these issues would not affect Bechtels long-term view of India. Things are proceeding here as well as anywhere in the world, he said, emphasising, We have invested, differentially, more in India than in any one region in the world.

However, he said investment into India from outside would progressively decline in order to turn the Indian operations into a self-sustaining business unit. Our net investment will continue to go down as we grow our activities in India, said Bechtel.

The groups 100 per cent Indian subsidiary, Bechtel India Pvt Ltd, is currently conducting two programmes in the country a global supply network programme and a multi-project acquisition programme.

Bechtel sees India as a global resource base for supply of equipment, materials, and commodities for its worldwide projects. There is greater emphasis on India for supply of materials and equipment. We are in the preparation stage to work out the sourcing plan, we will soon move ahead to implement it. But our Indian suppliers should realise that we operate in a not-so easy industry, and hence their relation with us will also not be easy. They have to compete internationally for providing right value to customers.

Bechtel India operates as one of the six world-class complete execution units in Bechtels global operations, undertaking design, erection, and procurement for projects for virtually every region in which Bechtel operates.

Bechtel is currently involved in three mega projects in the country Reliances Jamnagar refinery in Gujarat, the Dabhol Power project in Maharashtra, and the Haldia Petrochemicals complex in West Bengal.

The visiting chairman also affirmed Bechtels desire to form strategic alliances with Indian public sector undertakings in different infrastructure sectors.

There is the beginning of a trend of public-private partnership around the world. I think we will probably see the same in India before long, he said.

He also emphasised the advantages of a privately-held family run company such as Bechtel in an industry where a long-term perspective is essential. We have very knowledgeable shareholders, every share is voted by somebody active in the senior management of the company. Therefore, we can take decisions that many public companies might not be able to.

First Published: Fri, February 06 1998. 00:00 IST