NBCC chief recounts how construction business is quickly picking up the pieces after pandemic

PK Gupta, CMD, NBCC, explains how the construction sector made a strong, quick comeback after half the year was washed out. Edited excerpts:ET Now: How are execution picking up, and do you expect to see a further pickup here on?PK Gupta: Yes, execution levels are picking up. We are almost past the corona period and our execution is now about 85 to 90% capacity of what it could be. The corona affect is limited to 10 to 15% only.And we have added very large-value contracts — close to Rs 12,000-crore worth of contracts have been awarded during the current financial year. These contracts will give a very good turnover this quarter as well as in 2021-22.ET Now: You have guided for about Rs 5,500 crore or revenues in FY21. Q4 will have to see record numbers in order for this to be achieved. Your thoughts?PK Gupta: Yes, we will be touching that figure. We will be nearing that figure despite about half of the year being washed out.ET Now: Do you see moving orders in the order book leading the way?PK Gupta: There are many large-value projects in the pipeline. One of them is a social housing project in Maldives. We are almost in final stage of our discussion with the government of Maldives and this project is likely to come up shortly.Apart from this, many other large-value projects are at the discussion stage. We are in discussion with the government of Nigeria regarding a hospital and road work. We have also recently started discussion with the government of Ghana regarding infrastructure projects.Other big value projects which are under discussion are redevelopment projects for NDMC and affordable housing project for Steel Authority of India Ltd and NMDC.Besides, we have signed an MOU with Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd for redevelopment of their properties. We are also in touch with the Indian Navy and Housing Board of Odisha for redevelopment of their properties.We have submitted the bid for NIT Srinagar in Uttarakhand and the bid is likely to be opened shortly. We are quite hopeful that we will get the work.ET Now: Labour availability was a big issue till some time ago. Have things eased out now?PK Gupta: Yes, largely. We are operating at about 85% of our total capacity, so the labour issue is more or less sorted out. We plan to increase speed of execution by awarding large-value contracts, because big contractors are able to mobilise better and give us better turnover per month.ET Now: What is the update on the Delhi redevelopment projects as of now?PK Gupta: Nauroji Nagar is going well. We have started one project in Sarojni Nagar where the work has started. In one project in Netaji Nagar the tender is in the stage of award; we plan to start the work on that project in another 15-20 days.Work has started in all three redevelopment colonies which are assigned to NBCC. The sales for Nauroji Nagar are also picking up. During the corona period sales of commercial property was very bad, but that has picked up. In view of this pick-up, we are planning to start more commercial property work.ET Now: What is the outlook when it comes to infrastructure capex? Do you expect a pick-up after 10 years of low growth?PK Gupta: In the recent budget, the government has given a lot of incentives to infrastructure development. Because of the 137% spike in health expenditure, a lot of health sector projects are coming up. We plan to bag those projects. There is also now generally more focus on infrastructure by the government.
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