Tuesday, January 08, 2019

HAL's angst: it gets largely repair jobs, when it needs big orders

Bangalore: The main worry of senior officials of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is the depleting order book as a military aviation company its size will require at least three times of what it has now.

“What the defence minister tweeted on Sunday is correct but that is not enough,” a senior HAL official told The Telegraph.

“HAL has signed contracts worth Rs 26570.8 Cr (Between 2014 and 2018) and contracts worth Rs 73000 Cr are in the pipeline,” the defence minister’s official Twitter handle had posted on Sunday after Rahul Gandhi had accused minister Nirmala Sitharaman of lying in Parliament.

“The tweet itself shows that the orders ‘signed’ by the IAF, the army, the navy and the Coast Guard are worth Rs 26,570 crore. And that is part of the Rs 60,000-crore order books we have now,” said the official.

In order to run a company that employs close to 30,000 people, more than 9,000 of them highly qualified engineers and designers, it would ideally need an order book of Rs 2 lakh crore, said the official.

“A huge chunk of the Rs 60,000-crore order book relates to the overhaul of Sukhoi combat jets. A military aviation company the size of HAL cannot run for very long with just the income from MRO (maintenance repair and overhaul),” he said.

“Our orders are already fast depleting and we would be in a much deeper crisis if we do not get more orders within a few months,” he said.

On Sunday night, the HAL headquarters tweeted that it had taken an overdraft of Rs 962 crore.

“In view of the various media reports on HAL, following is clarified. HAL has taken overdraft of Rs 962 crores. With anticipated collection up to March, the cash position is expected to improve. Orders for LCA MK 1A (83) and LCH (15) are in advanced stages,” the tweet said.

The tweet suggests the state-run company is desperately waiting for the orders of 83 Light Combat Aircraft MK 1A and 15 Light Combat Helicopter.

“Without the two orders, we will be in deep trouble. Only such big orders will help us maintain the cash flow and help bail us out from this situation,” said the official.
08/01/18 KM Rakesh/Telegraph