The launch of new Metro Rail projects in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, and Kochi and the expansion of the existing ones in Delhi and Kolkata have brought happy tidings for the public sector BEML. It clocked revenues of Rs 273 crore from the rail and metro business segment in 2007-08, a more than 100 per cent increase over the figure of Rs 105.48 crore in the previous financial year. BEML CMD V.RS. Natarajan is, naturally, bullish about the sector. “Our entire Bangalore coach factory will be dedicated to the manufacture of metro coaches,” he says, adding that BEML’s order book has been bolstered by Rs 1,366 crore worth of orders from Delhi Metro for 192 standard gauge coaches. “We will complete the order before the Commonwealth Games,” he adds confidently.BEML is also negotiating with Mumbai Metro for 120 coaches. The total market for metro coaches is estimated at Rs 10,000-12,000 crore. BEML competes with the likes of Alstom, Siemens, Bombardier in the market for metro cars. But it may have an ace to trump them with. “Our design team is trying to bring down the cost of metro cars from Rs 7.5 crore each to around Rs 5 crore,” Natarajan says.
Then, orders for regular coaches from the Indian Railways are also continuing to pour in. BEML supplied 430 coaches to the railways last year; this figure will rise by 170 this year. The PSU, meanwhile, is also entering the projects space. It plans to vie for high-speed rail projects between the city centres and the new airports in Hyderabad and Bangalore “on a BOOT (build-ownoperate-transfer) basis”, says Natarajan. BEML, then, like its coaches, is truly going places.
— K.R. Balasubramanyam