SN Subrahmanyan,Deputy Managing Director and President, Larsen & Toubro (L&T)
The largest, tallest, biggest or heaviest - Larsen & Toubro (L&T), India´s largest and fastest growing construction company, has done it all with operations across the country and overseas. In 2015, its veteran SN Subrahmanyan was elevated to the position of Deputy Managing Director and President, and awarded with the CW Man of the Year Award (read more on page 142). He tells us more about the company, projects, achievements and international footprint.
Achievements: We are doing one of the tallest residential towers in Mumbai, Omkar Towers; one of the longest extra dosed bridges in the country at Narmada; one of the largest rail corridors, the dedicated freight corridor; the Hyderabad Metro, the largest metro in the world today; we are on one line each of the Riyadh Metro and Doha Metro; and are doing one of its kind river development on the bank of Ganga (renovation of Ghats) in Patna. We are also bringing light to millions through the APDRP kind of ruler electrification works scheme; are doing India´s first smart city at Jaipur; one of the largest security solutions at Mumbai; and one of the largest Hydel projects at Bhutan. We have done India´s first 765-kv Gas Insulated Substation; one of the longest roads in the country - Bewar Pali, one of the largest steel plant for Tata Steel at Kalinga Nagar; bagged the project to build the tallest statue in the world that of Sardar Vallabhai Patel - the Statue of Unity; a very big mall in Delhi, DLF Mall; and completed one of the largest residential complexes in Ahmedabad for Godrej. It has been good achievements.
International business: Five to six years ago, when the Indian economy was not moving at the expected pace, we decided not to depend on one geography only. This was our Chairman´s insight. We started spending time in the Middle East. Today, we have a backlog of nearly $7.5 billion there. If India develops at 8-10 per cent, we will shift our focus back because this is our basic market. But at the same time, we have been looking at how to grow the business internationally. We have jobs in north and east Africa, and expect it to be a substantial business area for us in the next five years. And, if we are able to manage the local situation and economic realities of these countries, we will go with buildings and infrastructure apart from power transmission and distribution. Similarly, in power transmission and distribution, we have jobs in Malaysia, and are fairly well placed in few other countries of Southeast Asia. So we are expanding and are confident. We want to run an organisation, which delivers quality, time and has a good safety record. We want to do these projects to good profitability from our stakeholders point of view. We want to be a healthy organisation. We won´t call ourselves aggressive, but ambitious.
Smart world and communications: We call it smart world & communications. This business has the potential to change the governance of cities and there are three parts to this business: Security solutions, Communications and Smart infrastructure.
Security solutions started with some jobs in the Sabarmati Jail in Gujarat. Then we got into providing traffic violation cameras in Ahmedabad, Baroda and Gandhinagar, which has now become a kind of security solution. Then, we received the job to provide security cameras all over Mumbai. We are now installing 6,000 odd cameras. The construction part of this business includes physical structures of providing the poles, cameras and so on, and then there is the connectivity part. As part of communications, we started with laying 20,000 km of fibre-optic cable for the Ministry of Defence through BSNL. There are various ways of receiving data - routers, switchers, servers, network solutions, teleconference rooms - and we have quoted for tenders to provide these. If we get them, these will take the company to the next level from a communications perspective.
Progress of Statue of Unity and dedicated fright corridors: For the Statue of Unity, we recently completed 4,400 cu m of concrete for the foundation. Work on the statue has started and we have placed the order for bronze and steel. For the dedicated fright corridor, we are doing the first and second phases, which include electrification. We are more or less on schedule and track laying is about to start. There are many more tenders for which we have quoted.
Impact of aggressive bidding: We bid for complicated projects. Aggression does not pay. This is a business where you commit your sales price today, see your cost work out tomorrow, and then make your profits. When we had to deal with the environment, the economy and other factors, one has to exercise extreme caution, due diligence and risk management. All our projects go through this and we bid with caution.