New Delhi: Manufacturing, sourcing and a focus on solving business problems, rather than supplying discrete products or services, will drive GE-India’s growth in the coming years, its new head, Tejpreet S. Chopra, said on Thursday.
In an interview, among his first after taking over as the company’s president and CEO in July, Chopra added that growth along these three dimensions would help GE India reach its target of $8 billion (Rs31,520 crore) in revenue by 2010, up from around $2.6 billion now.
According to Chopra, who replaced Scott R. Bayman, infrastructure, health care and financial services will be the focus areas for GE.
GE India president and CEO Tejpreet S. Chopra
In infrastructure, the company is present in water management, oil and gas, aviation, railways and energy. It makes and maintains equipment, and its financing arm funds or part-funds projects in some of these areas.
Infrastructure is cited by many experts as one of the stumbling blocks in India’s efforts to keep its economy growing at more than 9% a year. At the World Economic Forum’s India EconomicSummit on 4 December, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, had said India needed to spend around $500 billion over the next five years, with 30%of this coming from the private sector.
And “GE is the largest infrastructure technology company in the world,” said Chopra.
He added that the company was open to looking at infrastructure projects across sectors—power plants, ports, airports, water management systems—and in a variety of roles: technology and equipment provider, logistics partner, member of the consortium running the project or a financial partner. He said the company would also try and play the role of “bringing the right people” together.
Chopra said he did not see acquiring a licence to start a bank, or permission to acquire one, as the way to address the markets the company’s financial services arm wants to.
The company was still undecided on this and the decision would also depend on issues such as prevailing policies and regulations. GE would focus on organic growth, he said, although it does look at possible acquisition targets.
“The valuations are much too high (to make this a viable option) now,” Chopra added. However, the booming local stock market will not tempt GE into listing its companies here. “Capital (the requirement of capital) isn’t an issue (for us),” he added.
Chopra has held several positions in GE in his more than a decade-long stint in the company, including a very successful one as head of the company’s aircraft leasing business in India.
His room in the company’s corporate headquarters in the heart of the Capital is dotted with a model aircraft sporting the logos of the airlines Chopra has done leasing deals with.
He declined to mention the number of aircraft the company had leased out, but saidthat in terms of revenue, it had done deals worth $1 billion a year until now and had commitments from airlines for deals worth an additional$1.5 billion.