The global perception that it is not easy to do business in India due to the ´license raj´ is changing as the present government is playing an active role in this regard, says Nicolas Jachiet, Chairman & CEO, Egis Group.
What are the opportunities you see in the Indian infrastructure segment which envisages an investment of over US$ 1 Trillion (INR 62 lakh crore) in the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17)?
Going by the budgetary allocation and other indications given out by the present government, certain sectors have emerged as potential opportunities for us in India. These sectors include - industrial corridors (due to ´Make in India´ and ´Smart City´ campaigns), urban infrastructure (due to Smart City initiatives), and waste management (due to Swaccha Bharat Abhiyaan). In addition, I recently met with the Hon´ble Minister for Shipping, Nitin Gadkari, who elaborated upon the ambitious plans of the ministry in the area of inland water transportation. Egis will accordingly be looking at this sector closely.
How would initiatives like 100 smart cities and ´Make in India´ campaign help Egis India?
Both these campaigns open up huge opportunities for Egis in India. In the sectors of urban planning, planning of industrial corridors and industrial & commercial townships, Egis has strong capabilities both in India and abroad.
What are the investment plans by EGIS India for FY2015-16?
Egis in India has plans to grow both organically and inorganically; in pace with the growth in the sectors that we work in. Our major investment takes place in Human Resources - the people that make up Egis in India. There are elaborate plans to invest in new human resources as well as train and take care of the Egis fraternity in India.
What are the major hurdles you see in India when it comes to infrastructure projects compared to other global countries? What are the lessons to be learnt?
The implementation of any infrastructure project in any country needs to pass through a set of rules, regulations, permits, and approvals. While this ´permit regime´ seeks to address the same set of issues in all countries, the mechanism of getting through this government regime varies from country to country. There is a perception globally that it is not easy to do business in India due to the so called ´license raj´. Having said that, it is also true that the present government is actively working to change this perception, the results of which have begun to show.
What is your take on the land acquisition issue? What part has it played in preventing private investment in road construction?
Presently, land acquisition is a sensitive and political issue in India. But it is not a pure Indian issue. Everywhere in the world, there are issues about the way projects are decided. As an engineering company, we are concerned about the clear decisions on the projects. Land issues are present across nations. In other nations, it could be delays in environmental clearances, legal disputes about the legitimacy and viability of projects, or even the need of the project. However, what is important is to find a balance and address the legitimate issues of the land owners and the needs of industrialisation. There is a need to develop a framework that takes an appropriate window of time for discussion, while being principally fair to both parties involved.
What was Egis group´s global turnover in 2014? What are your expectations for 2015?
In 2014, Egis´ turnover totalled Ç854 M and the proportion of non-French business accounted for 53 per cent of the overall turnover.
In 2015, we are remaining on a trajectory of growth. We must pay attention to managing the contracts entrusted to us, both rigorously and responsibly. We are breaking new grounds in the international reach of both our activities and our teams. We will put greater emphasis on our multi-disciplinary qualities. As for our markets, we are capable of working on different parts of the value chain. This is a crucial asset because it is at the interfaces between our specialities, so that savings can be made, both for us and for the clients that we support.
Our strategic aims are: making progress in the race by relying on our shareholder model, going where the growth is, increasing our profits significantly and durably, combining the understanding of the client and technical knowledge to always deploy the best team on each project entrusted to us, developing our talents responsibly, and finally, remaining at the cutting edge of technical excellence and sustainable engineering.
How many projects is the company currently executing in India? What is the total value of the projects handled?
Egis in India is presently working on more than 60 projects in various sectors. Some of these projects are as large as the Chennai Metro GLC Project; while others are relatively smaller as Daman & Diu Port Project. It will be difficult to report the total value of all projects being implemented by Egis in India since they are in various stages of development. Therefore, project cost is not known for many of them.
For the calendar year 2015, what order intake do you expect from India?
For the calendar year 2015, we expect to secure fresh orders aggregating to more than INR 260 crore.
What are your plans of investment for the next five years? Is Egis India looking at acquisitions, notably in the energy sector?
For the medium term of next five years, Egis in India is looking at inorganic growth through some strategic acquisitions which are presently in the planning stage.
What is the status of the metro rail projects dealt by Egis India?
Among the metro projects where Egis is involved, trial runs have already taken place on the Koyambedu to Alandur section of Chennai Metro and CMRS (Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety ) approval is awaited for operations to begin. Kochi Metro is targeted for completion by mid-2016, whereas Kolkata Metro project is embroiled in land acquisition and funding issues; as a result of which, completion of the project is nowhere in sight.
How has the progress been on the projects under NVDA; 1048 km long Ganga Expressway; Mumbai Master Plan VISION 2034 and Ports in Daman & Diu?
The Ganga Expressway project of Jay Pee Group could not obtain the requisite environment clearances and has therefore been shelved. Egis completed the assignment of preparing the DPR and supporting documentation for the project. The NVDA project is presently underway and is slated for completion later this year. The draft of Mumbai Master Plan Vision 2034 has been submitted to MCGM and has been approved by them. The draft plan is now up for comments and suggestions by all stakeholders, including every citizen of Mumbai. Once all the comments and suggestions are received, these shall be duly addressed in the final plan. The ongoing project of Ports in Daman & Diu is presently at a stage where Egis has completed the feasibility study for minor port in Daman, fishing harbour in Daman & Diu, and water-based recreational activities for tourism in both Daman and Diu. We are presently awaiting the go ahead from the client to commence detailed engineering designs for these facilities.
Is Egis India participating in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan? What are the projects which Egis India involved are directly or indirectly helps the mission? Elaborate.
The Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan is presently in a nascent stage; we are waiting to see this campaign translate into actual projects on the ground. However, Egis in India is keen on urban solid waste management projects, including conversion of solid waste into energy, since it has expertise in this area.
As per NHAI guidelines, a rest area is provided on both sides of all National Highways (NHs) at every 50 km, which also has a provision for public conveniences. Egis in India is presently working on 2,000 km of NHs, and thereby, has facilitated provisions for approximately 100 toilets on NHs in different parts of the country.
- PRATHIBA RAJU