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Alstom betting big on India, with an eye on the future

business Updated: Nov 18, 2008 22:16 IST
Suprotip Ghosh
Suprotip Ghosh
Hindustan Times
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Philippe Cochet, president of Alstom Hydro and senior vice president of Alstom Hydro & Wind, is betting big on India. The company has completely overhauled its factory that makes hydroelectric power generating components, and set up its first hydropower research centre outside Europe in Vadodara, Gujarat. Cochet spoke with

Suprotip Ghosh

on Alstom’s India plans.

Why is the Indian market so important to Alstom, that you set up a factory and a research centre here?
India is roughly 10 per cent of the turnover of Alstom Hydro. We know of one or two projects larger than 2,500 mw in the near future, and there is a possibility that number might go up. We can always expand this factory at Vadodara, and we are willing to expand. The existing setup is pretty much capable, with the same equipment we can do much more.

Can you use this factory for making equipment for nuclear power plants?
If it is a generator, we most certainly can. This facility can manufacture some equipment, particularly valves used in pipelines. For the other parts though, a separate facility needs to be set up.

Will it pose a logistical problem to get components from the Gujarat factory to the Himalayas?
It is always a logistical problem. But it was a deliberate decision to set the project up here. We thought it would be okay from the logistical point too. Plus, Europe, would be pretty close from here. What is important for us is to find engineers for the plant. We have a large number of engineers here and that is the highest criterion. This plant is a manufacturing hub for hydro for the Indian market and also for Europe. The main activity is based on Indian projects — Uri, Chamera, Subarnsiri.

Are your India projects mostly turnkey?
It depends on the market. In China, it is mostly component project. Here we do part of the turnkey. In India, mostly turnkey solutions are provided.

Refurbishment is a large market globally, what is India's share?
The biggest market is China, then Brazil and then India. The more the installed base is ageing, the more business we have. If you speak about India, where there is a lot of silt, you have to refurbish after the monsoon season. We are doing that.

(Suprotip Ghosh was in Vadodara on Alstom's invitation)