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Reliance Infra plans $7 billion expansion

Reliance Infra plans $7 billion expansion
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First Published: Thu, Jun 19 2008. 10 23 PM IST
Updated: Thu, Jun 19 2008. 10 23 PM IST
Mumbai: Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, a power generator controlled by billionaire Anil Ambani, plans to invest $7 billion (Rs30,030 crore) in the next three years to expand its engineering and construction business in India and acquire assets overseas.
The company, formerly called Reliance Energy Ltd, will borrow as much as 80% of the funds, director Lalit Jalan said, without elaborating. The investments will be separate from the $28 billion that its 45%-owned unit Reliance Power Ltd plans to spend on adding capacity in India in five years.
Chairman Anil Ambani changed the company’s name in May to reflect the widened scope of its business to include roads and airports as India spends $500 billion to improve infrastructure by 2012. Reliance Infrastructure, which has started a Shanghai office, expects to unveil a venture in China in the next two months and aims to develop a global business, Jalan said.
“We’re looking for a good asset at a good price,” he said today. Reliance Infrastructure seeks to partner Chinese companies for a technology, services or production venture, Jalan said, declining to give details.
Dongfang Electric Corp. Ltd, which supplies about 40% of China’s hydropower equipment, and Shanghai Electric Group Co. Ltd, China’s biggest maker of power equipment, are among suppliers for Ambani’s power projects, according to Jalan.
The company’s Reliance Power unit may form ventures with makers of turbines, boilers and transformers, Ambani had said in January.
Mumbai-based Reliance Infrastructure had previously considered bidding for Singapore’s Tuas Power Ltd, acquired in March by China Huaneng Group Corp., and is currently looking to invest in West Asia, Jalan said.
“It all sounds easy on paper but the proof comes only after the projects are completed. This company is getting into too many projects,” said Mahesh Patil, who helps manage $9 billion in debt and equity at Birla Sun Life Asset Management Co. Ltd. “It may be plausible but it’s going to be a big, big challenge.”
The stock that was the best-performer on India’s 30-share Sensitive Index last year, has fallen 51% since the start of this year.
Reliance Infrastructure will continue to partner overseas companies for its engineering and construction projects in India, Jalan said. About 1,500 engineers were hired this year and a similar number may be added in each of the next three years to help the company meet its targets, he said.
A dozen managers have been hired from overseas to “bring best practices from international firms,” Jalan said.
The Union government is increasing spending on infrastructure to ease congestion at ports and roads and power shortages that it estimates shave 2 percentage points off the country’s growth, the second fastest among major economies.
Reliance Infrastructure is building a rail system to connect New Delhi’s airport to the city in partnership with Spain’s Construcciones and Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles SA. It is building a 12km stretch of a metro rail project in Mumbai with a French firm Veolia Transport, a unit of Veolia Environment SA.
The company has jointly bid with Canada’s Bombardier Inc., the world’s second largest train maker, to build a 67km elevated rail corridor in Hyderabad.
Reliance Infrastructure fell 5.68% to close at Rs1,012.35 in a weak Mumbai market on Thursday.
BLOOMBERG
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First Published: Thu, Jun 19 2008. 10 23 PM IST