Indian infrastructure major sets up joint ventures with Iraqis
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Indian infrastructure major sets up joint ventures with Iraqis

Friday, 24 October 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: Indian infrastructure major PCP International, which has had a presence in Iraq for over 25 years, has set up five joint ventures with former Iraqi officials to explore reconstruction opportunities.

"Post-war we have joined hands with around 35 well-qualified Iraqis and taken some enterprising former officials into business to form five joint ventures," company chairman Hardarshan Singh Mejie told IANS during a visit here.

The Chandigarh-headquartered company currently has seven Indians who have worked in Iraq for many years at helm of affairs in Baghdad along with the Iraqis.

Some of them were without jobs in the post-war era while others had opted to quit government jobs to go into business.

"While the enterprising Iraqis keen to undertake reconstruction work have joined us as joint venture partners, others have been put on the pay roles.

"We feel it is our duty to provide employment to as many Iraqis as possible to return what they have given us," said Mejie.

During the long years of sanctions in Iraq, under the U.N.'s oil-for-food programme PCP's order book was the largest among Indian companies.

It is the only Indian company to have a full-fledged workshop in Baghdad, which has been providing service not only to Indian companies but also to Egyptian and Lebanese firms operating in Iraq.

"Even during the war this year, we never stopped work and were undertaking work for ministry vehicles," said Mejie.

The company is currently in the process of fulfilling several contracts it bagged under the U.N.'s oil for food programme.

With the U.N. having relocated the food inspectors in Dubai for testing of samples, the company expects to complete dispatch of 3,000 tonnes of tea worth $5 million by December 15.

Over the last six years, PCP has been the biggest tea supplier to Iraq with shipments of 6,000 tonnes.

Of the 600,000 tonnes of wheat order India already has in hand, PCP is slated to supply 53,000 tonnes, which it expects to do within four weeks.

Other orders include 80 generator sets, four cranes worth $12 million, and 1,000 Tata pick-ups worth around $8 million.

Of the five joint ventures formed, two will undertake construction work, while two others will handle trading and sourcing of equipment and machinery and the fifth undertake service contracts.

"PCP is looking for new projects including rehabilitation of existing plants and construction of new buildings. Initially we expect to get sub-contracts from American companies," said Mejie, who is keen that more Indian firms should enter the scene to give a boost to private enterprise in the war ravaged Iraq.

The new changing scenario in Iraq providing opportunities for all has meant that PCP will no longer be the largest representative of Indian companies in the country.

Adapting to change, the company is tying up for sourcing its own equipments and machinery both for supply and after sale service.

To PCP's invitation for other collaborations, some German companies have come forward for tie-ups, which Mejie hopes to finalise soon.

"Just as American companies are keen to work with Indian companies in Afghanistan, European companies are keen to collaborate with us in Iraq," said Mejie.

Seeking to enhance the global profile of the company, PCP is "looking to diversify to other countries where the U.N. has peacekeeping operations. Our latest move is to Liberia, where we are setting up operations in a fortnight".

PCP operates in Afghanistan, East Timor, Kosovo, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.



Source: IANS
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