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Deal done, now for the deals

India’s power sector companies are set to reap a bonanza after the Govt won the backing of the NSG to trade in atomic fuel and tech in the global market, report S Saha and G Choudhury.

business Updated: Sep 09, 2008 01:41 IST

Now that the powers have agreed, the towers can come up.

From steam turbines to high-technology reactors, India’s power sector companies are set to reap a bonanza after the government, last weekend, won backing of the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group to trade in atomic fuel and technology in the global market.

Companies like BHEL, NTPC, Tata Power and Larsen and Toubro are eyeing a raft of high-value contracts and joint ventures, the promise of which fuelled a stock rally on Monday. The Bombay Stock Exchange’s 30-share Sensex rose 461 points, or 3.2 per cent, on the back of a surge in stocks of power and equipment manufacturing companies.

As India’s civilian nuclear energy programme gets a boost from the NSG decision, companies at home and abroad are looking at $100 billion in new business opportunities over the next 15-20 years, said David S Bohigian, Assistant Secretary of Commerce of the United States.

Bohigian is in India with a 20-company delegation to hold talks with government and business leaders on cooperation in clean technology.

“We will form a separate joint venture for nuclear power equipment and we are looking for a technology partner for reactor equipment with a capacity of over 700 MW," said K Ravi Kumar, chairman of BHEL.

The company plans to firm up the venture by end of this year and expects orders to start trickling from next year, Kumar told Hindustan Times.

The company expects about 10 per cent of its revenues to come from nuclear power equipment in the next two years, he said. Many Indian companies would also wooed by foreign firms seeking to enter the country's power sector through partnerships.

“There are around 20 companies in the US (which are) interested in trading in nuclear energy in India,” Bohigian said.

It may take a while for the nuclear deal to play out in term of actual power generation projects, “but companies like L&T, BHEL and NTPC will see a pump up,” said Aseem Dhru, chief executive officer, HDFC Securities.

L&T said it is equipped with capacities to execute “almost complete” turnkey nuclear power generation projects.
The company, which is already supplying steam turbines to companies worldwide, is in talks with French nuclear major Areva and US-based Westinghouse for possible collaboration.

“We are already in the hydrocarbon sector producing similar equipment. A nuclear power foray would not involve a major shift for us,” said AM Naik, chairman and managing director of L&T.

A spokesman for Anil Ambani-promoted Reliance Power said it already has a dedicated team doing the necessary groundwork for a nuclear foray.

Last year, state-owned NTPC got its shareholders to approve the company's plan to go for nuclear energy. It plans to generate at least 2,000 MW of nuclear power by 2017.