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Indian firm upbeat of winning Lankan infrastructure projects

Aug 17, 2011 3:00:09 PM - www.ft.lk

MUMBAI (Reuters): Unity Infraprojects Ltd. has emerged as the lowest bidder for projects worth 15.50 billion rupees and expects awarding of most these contracts within a month, while the civil engineering firm is conducting viability studies on projects in Sri Lanka, a top official said on Tuesday.

“Out of the 1,550 crore rupees (15.50 billion rupees), other than a 590 crore rupees (5.9 billion rupees contract), everything should materialise in a month’s time,” its Chief Financial Officer Madhav Nadkarni told Reuters over the telephone.
These projects include a 4.27-billion-rupee government contract and 3-4 projects worth 5.33 billion rupees from water, transportation and building segments, he added.
“About 80 percent (of the total bids) is from the building segment and the remaining will be from water and roads,” Nadkarni said, but declined to give details of the projects.
The awarding of the 5.9 billion rupees contract, another government project, would happen by September-end or first week of October, he said.
These would add to Unity’s present order book of 34.78 billion rupees, while the firm is targeting an order book of 45 billion rupees in FY12, he said.
Earlier in June, he said the firm was expecting fresh orders worth 40 billion rupees this year.
“Nearly in the first six months, we should be able to achieve 40 percent of what we targeted (for FY12),” Nadkarni said.
The company, which has a gross debt of about 8.70 billion rupees, expects to keep it at current levels or marginally higher by the end of the year, he said.
Unity Infraprojects has posted a flat net profit for April-June quarter.
“In Sri Lanka and Gulf, as well as South Africa, we are looking at opportunities, we are looking at certain projects which had been short-listed and viability study and other things are in process,” Nadkarni said.
There are a lot of opportunities in Sri Lankan infrastructure space, and the company should be in a position to announce a concrete deal by “next quarter or so…,” he said.
In an interview with Reuters in June, Nadkarni had stated that the firm was scouting for contracts in the Middle East, South Africa and Libya.
Indian infrastructure builders including Larsen & Toubro and Lanco Infratech have been winning projects overseas as they diversify from a domestic market beset by fierce competition and regulatory uncertainty.
Unity Infraprojects has also bid for two National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) projects and is awaiting the results.

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