Cover Story

Most Admired Companies | Afcons Infrastructure

August 2014
Part of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, the third-largest construction group in India, Afcons Infrastructure Ltd has emerged as a top-notch infrastructure development company in India - and several parts of the world. Afcons has followed a diversification-driven strategy, with a focus on delivering projects on or ahead of schedule through its commitment to excellence in execution. This has placed the company in good stead; even during the difficult last year, it was able to achieve a growth of about 20 per cent through prudent project selection and a continuous focus on execution.

Operational excellence
Afcons has consciously tried to adopt an operational excellence model encompassing operational efficiency, productivity and innovation. ¨In the process, we focus on delivering projects on or ahead of schedule,¨ avers K Subrahmanian, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Afcons Infrastructure Ltd. ¨This has helped the company focus on bagging the right jobs and delivering them. As a part of our execution strategy, we try to simplify the job from design to execution. In fact, even in projects where design is not in our scope, we have tried to go beyond our scope and attempted to simplify, even if it requires redesign.¨

Boosting employee morale
Afcons has defined employee wellness and engagement as a key driver for success, with the objective to achieve HR leadership in the industry. ¨We are pioneering the ´whole wellness model´ and ´total satisfaction model´ in the industry,¨ adds Subrahmanian. ¨The objective of these actions is to provide platforms to employees to adopt and sustain behavioural practices that enhance life quality and physical well-being while enhancing personal effectiveness.¨

Tough decisions
While the infrastructure sector has been plagued by financial distress of late, Afcons has been able to achieve profitable growth year on year. ¨This has been achieved through prudent opportunity selection practices based on stringent risk management,¨ says Subrahmanian. ¨Even in the past few years when the order book growth was lower than desired, the company has kept away from bidding aggressively.¨

Ace project:
Among other noteworthy projects completed last year, Afcons prides itself for its work on the 64-km Jammu-Udhampur Highway corridor connecting Jammu and Udhampur. ¨The NHAI project required strengthening and four-laning of the stretch and Afcons substantially completed the work almost six months ahead of schedule,¨ shares Subrahmanian. ¨This is a national record for the fastest completion of a hill-road project. Besides speedy execution, innovation and man-management in a project with 76 bridges, viaducts and underpasses, 9.93 km of retaining wall, 289 culverts and four twin-tube tunnels, coping with extreme weather conditions indicates the high level of human endurance and motivation.¨

Opportunities ahead
With its ambition to be a truly international EPC player, the focus of Afcons continues to be on increasing its presence overseas. ¨We have successfully executed projects in Africa and the Middle East. While consolidating our position here, we will also evaluate other markets,¨ concludes a confident Subrahmanian.

¨More than attempting ´disruptive innovation´, we focus on incremental innovations colloquially called jugad!¨
K Subrahmanian, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Afcons Infrastructure Ltd

Fact Sheet:
Year of establishment:
1959
Top management: SP Mistry, Chairman; K Subrahmanian, Vice Chairman and Managing Director; S Paramasivan, Deputy Managing Director
Number of employees: 6,500
Turnover for 2012-13: Rs 3,017 crore
Turnover for 2013-14: Rs 3,593 crore
Latest orderbook: Approx Rs 7,851 crore (as on March 31, 2014)

Ongoing projects: 

  • Marine and industrial: Civil works for Dahej Expansion Phase IIIA-LNG storage tanks, new Phosphate Rock Terminal at Aqaba in Jordan, civil and structural work at Jamnagar, sulphur handling facilities at Kuwait, civil and erection works forming part of DSO Phase of iron ore mining in Liberia
  • Surface transport: Construction of elevated road over Barapulla Nallah - PWD, strengthening and four laning of Jammu-Udhampur Highway
  • Rail and metro: Two packages of underground metro line EPC civil construction in Chennai, two contract packages, part design and construction of elevated viaduct and eight stations of Phase-III in Delhi MRTS, two packages of construction of viaduct for RVNL Kolkata, design and construction of railway bridge across the river Chenab in Jammu & Kashmir
  • Oil and gas: Engineering, procurement, fabrication, installation, precommissioning and commissioning of HRD process platform.
  • Hydro and underground: Rohtang Pass 8.8 km highway tunnel at 13,000 ft above sea level in the Himalayan region Biggest project undertaken: Strengthening and four laning of Jammu-Udhampur Highway

Landmark projects completed: 

  • Jammu-Udhampur Road, Client: NHAI
  • Engineering Mina Salman Interchange, Bahrain; Client: Ministry of Works, Bahrain
  • Marine facilities for standby jetty at Dahej for Petronet LNG Ltd, Client: Petronet LNG Ltd
  • Construction of single-line tunnel on Katra-Laole section of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail link project, Client: KRCL

Range of projects handled: Marine & industrial, surface transport, rail & metro, oil & gas, and hydro & underground

Accolades and awards received:

  • The Indian Roads and Highways Excellence Award (to The Jammu-Udhampur Road Project) for its outstanding contribution towards the development of Indian roads and highways.
  • CBR Award for four laning of Jammu Udhampur Highway Project.
  • Shield/trophy of excellence from Ministry of Labour, Bahrain in recognition of outstanding efforts in the field of occupational safety and safety of environment.
  • Award for the Third Fastest Growing Construction Company (large category) at the 11th Annual Construction World Global Awards, 2013.