Nitin Patel, Executive Director, Sadbhav Engineering Ltd
Delivering stability, integrity and quality in each of its projects, Sadbhav Engineering Ltd has grown manifold since its inception with diversified operations in roads and bridges, irrigation and mining, covering the length and breadth of India. Nitin Patel, Executive Director, highlights the achievements of this incredible journey in conversation with Shubhangi Bidwe...
Trace the company's journey from its inception.Our promoter Vishnubhai Patel incorporated Sadbhav Engineering in 1988. From 1988 to 1993, the company was mainly involved in the irrigation business, where it executed some major works for the Sardar Sarovar Project in Gujarat. We entered into the road and mining sectors in 1993. Here, our first job was as a subcontractor for Larsen & Toubro. After the successful execution of this project, we moved on to other projects for prestigious clients like Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), Gammon India and a Chinese government organisation. From 1998 to 2004, we shifted our focus from irrigation to the roads sector, and in December 2005, we ventured into BOT projects. Our first BOT project was the Mumbai-Nashik highway project. This was awarded to a consortium of Gammon India Pvt Ltd (75 per cent), Sadbhav Engineering (20 per cent) and BE Billimoria & Company (5 per cent) by NHAI. Sadbhav was the subcontractor for most of the work of a value of about Rs 5 billion. In March 2006, the company was listed on both BSE and NSE, after which it undertook many more BOT projects. Some of these include the Ahmedabad Ring Road in August 2006, Aurangabad-Jalna project in September 2006, and Nagpur-Shivni project in January 2007. By 2007, we had executed around seven to eight road projects for NHAI and various other state governments. These also included several ADB-funded projects.
The financial turmoil of 2008 proved to be a boon in disguise for us as we submitted the bids for and won around nine BOT projects in this period. These included the Dhule-Palasner project in a JV with HCC, Maharashtra Border Check Post project, Hyderabad-Yadagiri project and Rohtak-Panipat project. Of these, four projects are already operational, while the remaining five are under construction.
Please highlight some landmark projects. In terms of landmark projects, I would like to mention the four-laning of the 106 km Ratanpur-Adesar highway in Gujarat. We completed this project in just 33 months. We have also completed several ADB projects in cash contracts including the 190 km Lalso to Kota project in Rajasthan, the 195 km Hatti Gudi-Bidar in Karnataka and the 222 km Jabalpur-Amarkantak project in Madhya Pradesh.
Name some of your current projects.Currently, we are executing the 89 km, Rs 621 crore Dhule-Palasner highway project and the 81 km Rohtak-Panipat project with a total value of Rs 950 crore. We are also constructing world-class check posts at all entry points of Maharashtra at a cost of Rs 1,426 crore. Finally, we have the 38 km Hyderabad-Yadagiri, whose total value is around Rs 480 crore.
You commenced mining operations in 1990. What are your projects and plans in this sector? In the mining sector, we have executed a lot of projects for Gujarat Industries Power Company. As of now, we have around nine mining projects under execution. Out of these, seven are being developed for Indian clients, from which one is for Gujarat Industries Power Company and another is for Gujarat Heavy Chemicals Ltd. We are mainly involved in coal and lignite mining and have reached a capacity of up to 50 million cu m per annum. We plan to increase this to 200 million cu m over the next four to five years. Our irrigation business is being handled by our promoters. We currently have eight projects in this sector. Of these, three are in Madhya Pradesh and another five in Andhra Pradesh. In all, the total outstanding business of Sadbhav Engineering in the construction sector amounts to 7,000 crore. Of this, Rs 5,500 crore is in the roads sector, Rs 1,000 crore is in irrigation and around Rs 600 crore is in the mining sector.
Please elaborate upon the quality standards adopted by you.We adhere to all MOST (Ministry of Surface Transport) and MORTH (Ministry of Road Transport and Highways) specifications. We also have a full-fledged laboratory to conduct all required tests for all operations, right from the selection of the construction material and testing ready-mix materials – particularly bituminous work – to post-construction work. We currently manage two laboratories at each of our sites. These work independently and the reports are submitted directly to our CMD.
You prefer to own the equipment you need rather than leasing it. Can you throw some light on your fleet? For our road projects, we have Korean plants and German pavers and rollers. These are imported from the respective companies. For our mining projects, we own a fleet of Volvo and Caterpillar equipment.
Tell us about some of the strategic alliances you have entered into with other companies.We enter into supply and maintenance agreements with companies as soon as we win any new project. We also decide on maintenance and safety standards to be implemented and the costs to be incurred on that project at the time. We have several JVs with companies like HCC, Dilip Buildcon Ltd and KNR Constructions for large BOT projects.
One of the most important resources of any organisation is its employees. Please highlight the HRD initiatives you have undertaken in your company. We have a complete, full-fledged, functional HR department that handles all safety and labour-related issues, appointments, recruitments, increment policies and all other employee-related issues. Secondly, all employees drawing a salary below a certain amount are entitled to free schooling for their children. This includes free uniforms and books. All our machinery operators and supervisory staff are also provided with food and residential facilities.
Construction safety is an important aspect of project execution. What are the safety standards adopted by Sadbhav?We have deployed safety engineers at our sites, who ensure that the safety standards for construction and camp areas, drainage and sanitation systems are adhered to. Also, wearing safety helmets and jackets is compulsory at our sites. This is monitored by independent safety departments, and any lapse is immediately reported to the HR department.
The Indian residential market is set to register a double-digit growth in 2011. Does the company have any residential projects on the anvil? What are its other plans for future? No, as of now we have no plans to enter the residential market. For the past 15 years, we have been operational in these three sectors and intend to seek new opportunities in the same, for at least the next four to five years.
Year of establishment: 1988 Centres of operation: Pan India Top management: Vishnubhai Patel, Chairman and Managing Director; Nitin Patel, DirectorNo. of employees: Over 2,050Group turnover: Rs 2,200 crore (March 2010-2011)