Unity Infra seeks deals in Mid-East, South Africa

Unity Infra seeks deals in Mid-East, South Africa

Mumbai: Unity Infraprojects Ltd is scouting for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts in the Middle East, South Africa and Libya, while foraying into power and railways back home, a top official said on Friday.

“Dubai market has almost collapsed, but as far as Saudi Arabia and other markets are concerned, there are opportunities," chief financial officer Madhav Nadkarni told Reuters in an interview, adding the firm would also “evaluate" prospects in South Africa and Libya.

“It could be any wins," both government and private contracts and across sectors like construction of buildings, roads and water, he said.

The firm, which does not bid for projects under 50 crore, would follow this strategy for foreign contracts also.

“From the monetary perspective, a very small project doesn’t add anything to PAT (profit after tax), but, of course if there is any prestigious project, we look at it on a case-to-case basis."

The political unrest in North Africa and Middle East has stalled projects of many Indian firms, while analysts expect new projects to come in as situation normalises.

The firm is also adding two new verticals - power and railways - and is looking for contracts in thermal and hydro power and bidding for various railway projects.

“We have set up a team, they are evaluating the proposals and they are scouting for joint venture partners. So, in the next 6-9 months, we should be in a position to announce some wins," Nadkarni said.

Outlook for FY12

Unity Infraprojects is targeting fresh orders of 4,000 crore in FY12, while it has emerged as the lowest bidder for various projects worth 9,730 crore. These projects - across building, water and transport segments - are expected to be awarded by July-end, he said.

“We are bidding for around 1,500-2,000 crore projects per month, which is the bidding cycle, and I expect some of these to come in," he added.

The infrastructure firm has an order book worth 36 billion rupees as on date and expects it to grow to 5,000 crore by March 2012.

It is also targeting a 25 percent topline and 20 percent bottomline growth in FY12. For FY11, it posted a consolidated net profit of 960.3 million rupees on an income from operations of 17.72 billion rupees.

The company, which is executing over 400 crore of road projects, has also bid for two National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) road projects, he said, but declined to elaborate as financial bids were yet to open.

India built about 1,800 kilometres of roads in 2010-11, but will award a record 7,300 kms of road building contracts this year, worth $12 billion, a top NHAI official said last week.

Unity Infraprojects is also looking at developing its land bank of about 25 acres in Kolkata and 22 acres in Bangalore.

“The development in Bangalore may start post-monsoon and Kolkata in next calendar year. These should be typically residential. All put together it would be around 4-4.5 million square feet of development."

The firm’s gross debt now stands at 8 billion rupees and could rise by 10% this year, depending largely on the number of projects the company wins, he said.