ABB India has urged the Government of India to create a level playing field for the manufacturers of power equipment in India, on the grounds that Chinese and Korean rivals often undercut the market with imports. What ABB India Managing Director Bazmi Husain was suggesting at a conference-call with media persons on Thursday evening ahead of the Union Budget was India impose duties (like in the US) against unfair trade practices and dumping. "All that we are looking for is a level-playing field in India," he said.
One way to erect such a barrier is by tweaking the customs duty rates, imposing a countervailing duty (CVD), special additional duty, etc. ABB India, along with peers like Siemens and Schneider, had miserably lost to Korean and Chinese firms which walked away with the bulk of Power Grid's orders for 765 KV transformers with aggressive bids in calendar 2011. BHEL and L&T too have been pressing for anti-dumping measures against their Chinese peers.
Meanwhile, the Indian arm of the Swiss-Swedish multinational has almost tripled its net profit for calendar 2011 to Rs 184.5 crore over revenues of Rs 7,370 crore. The revenues jumped 17 per cent. The company announced a dividend of Rs 3 per share.
The multinational - with strong presence in the electrical balance of plant and in robotics - is bullish, sitting on an order book of Rs 9,128 crore. As for competition, Husain said prices in the market place have bottomed out, and ABB India itself is proving to be more competitive in design and in manufacturing.
On the challenges due to weakening finances in the power sector, ABB India's Power Systems Head N.Venu said there were no issues as far as funding went in the transmission project, but there were concerns on the distribution side, especially in eight states (like Rajashtan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Chattisgarh etc) which have not met the targets set by the Ministry of Power. "The banks are not giving further loans there. That is a cause of concern for us," Venu said.