Saturday, November 18, 2017

Newsbreakers

Smart mover

If Kerala is now seen to be a happening place thanks to a rash of projects like private airports development, metro rail and IT parks – remember for far too long the state lay outside the weltanschuung of infrastructural development – it owes in large measure to the Gulf based Malayali. One of whom the state can be justifiably proud of is Dr Baju George, Managing Director, SmartCity India, the international business parks arm of Dubai Holding, and the organisation to which the Rs 5,000 crore SmartCity Kochi project owes its existence. Incidentally SmartCity Kochi is a 246-acre knowledge hub that will house the ICT, media, finance and global research and innovation giants. While the Kerala government holds a 16 per cent stake in the project, the rest is held by Tecom Investments, a subsidiary of Dubai Holding. The project when finally completed will be a 8.8 million sq ft development and will create over 90,000 direct jobs. Now with the first phase of 650,000 sq ft property getting ready by the end of the year and work on another 3.6 million sq ft to be launched soon, George has got his sights on replicating the project elsewhere in the country, possibly in the North, but on larger scale – the area being mentioned for acquisition is around 500 to 1000 acres; the area to be developed over the next 5 years: 8.8 million sq ft - 14 million sq ft; and the cost: a whopping Rs 10,000 crore! The plans for the second high tech park are expected to be finalised after the forthcoming Parliamentary elections. Smart move that! It’s always wise for business people not to put all the eggs in one basket.

 

 

Power shift

EPC major Punj Lloyd can be said to have acquired a feather in its business cap with the crossing over of J P Chalasani, former Reliance Power CEO, to its portals as Group Chief Executive Officer. The former Ambani trouble shooter will soon work closely with Chairman Atul Punj and lead the entire Punj Lloyd management team from the company’s corporate headquarters in Gurgaon. A mechanical engineer who started his career with NTPC, Chalasani is known for his leadership and project management skills, brings with him a rich experience of 30 years in both public and private sectors. The soft spoken Chalasani is widely hailed as being instrumental in Reliance Power becoming the largest market cap power company in India’s private sector. He is also credited with starting India’s largest coal mine operations in the shortest possible time and leading the transformation of BSES from a power distribution firm to an infrastructure company which has branched out into new business streams. Punj Lloyd currently generates about 80 per cent of revenues from global operations – it has its imprimatur in 22 countries of the world including the Middle East, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Chalasani, who has been rated among Asia’s best CEO’s on several occasions, is expected to help the company consolidate existing businesses, expand its overseas footprint, deal with complex financial issues, and steer it on the right course through its diversification programme. It is interesting that when Chalasani resigned from Reliance Power at the end of last year his former organisation issued a statement saying that the exit was intended to pursue entrepreneurial ambitions. Whatever the reason for Chalasani’s ultimate power switch, one thing is certain: Anil’s loss is Atul’s gain!




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