Afirst-generation business, Megha Engineering & Infrastructures (MEIL) started in 1990. With humble beginnings starting out as a small pipe manufacturing unit, Krishna Reddy, the company’s Managing Director, has seen massive changes in his time with the business.
“We started very small – I think we had about five lakhs [about A$8,800] in capital. At present, our company, across the entire group, has done US$3.6 billion [A$4.9 billion] to US$4 billion [A$5.5 billion] in turnover,” he says.
He attributes this success to the company mantra – whatever projects it takes on, it’ll complete on time or ahead of schedule. As a result of this belief, its bottom line has continued to grow and, alongside this, so have its operations. From humble beginnings, it now works across a broad range of infrastructure sectors on large-scale projects.
“Our irrigation projects have given water to three to four million farmers, and drinking water to almost 20 million people,” Krishna tells The CEO Magazine. “Our city gas distribution has provided nearly one lakh [100,000] household connections. We have over one million household connections planned for completion within the next year-and-a-half.
“Onshore, we are doing most of the projects in and outside of India and have brought many new technologies to India. Our solar and canal top projects have only been done in India.”
MEIL also works in solar thermal power generation, having started commissioning in 2010, and has become the second biggest in India. “We have constructed almost 650 kilometres of 765-kilovolt lines and gas insulated substations throughout India,” Krishna adds.
Another core area of business for the company is within the roadwork sector, building expressways and multiple hybrid annuity model (HAM) projects (these are the preferred mode of awarding projects by the National Highways Authority of India) to the value of A$2.7 billion to A$3.2 billion at this time.
The infrastructure juggernaut has recently moved into an emerging market: manufacturing electrical buses. The business holds around 51,000 shares of Olectra and by the next financial year, Krishna estimates it will be operating around 2,000–2,500 buses, making it one of the biggest operators in Asia, if not globally. “We are also introducing electrical trucks in the coming months,” he shares, adding that over the next three to five years, MEIL is considering bigger moves into other countries.
Each and every supplier is crucial. Suppose one small piece of equipment is not there – we cannot operate other equipment if one part is not there.
Krishna reveals the company’s expansion and success have also benefited the government of India, saving it almost A$274.4 million because MEIL is manufacturing 60–70 per cent in India and then exporting globally.
It has also acquired Drillmec in Italy, one of the largest rig manufacturing companies. This will assist it in building essential infrastructure, required for each and every household in India.
“We are in the construction of lots of hospital buildings; constructing up to 10 hospital buildings in India for various governments. We are working in more than 19 states in India,” Krishna points out.
Building a strong workforce
When it comes to pulling off such large projects, maintaining a healthy workforce has proved invaluable. Krishna says during the pandemic, MEIL had 38,000 direct employees and 300,000–400,000 indirect employees. During this time, it gave all the employees and employees’ families vaccinations.
“We executed almost all the projects with better performance because we had no workforce disturbances,” he explains proudly. “We executed roads. We executed one of India’s biggest dams, called Polavaram. We also did one of the world’s largest lift irrigations – lifting the water almost 800 metres high.”
As well as considering and treating employees like family, Krishna says the company takes the same approach to contractors. Working with big names across steel, cement, pipes and equipment, he treats all suppliers like they are partners and then expects the same respect in return.
“With their support, we have the highest budget for the state. Across all our materials – be it steel, concrete or other supplies – we work with more than 4,000 suppliers and around 4,000–5,000 small contractors.”
Krishna says MEIL’s approach to treating suppliers and contractors well includes an open-door policy when it comes to raising issues and prioritising payments within the time schedule. As you’d expect, the approach is paying off.
It makes sense because for Krishna, every cog in the company’s wheel is vital to meet its mantra of delivering on time and to a high standard. “Each and every supplier is crucial,” he says. “Suppose one small piece of equipment is not there – we cannot operate other equipment if one part is not there.”
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