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GRSE to diversify into exports, may bag Guyanese order soon

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MUMBAI (PTI): Completely dependent on the Indian Navy for orders, the IPO-bound state-run ship builder GRSE is targeting to diversify into exports and is set to get an order from Guyana soon, a top official has said.

The Kolkata-headquartered company has executed one export in the past for the Mauritian government.

"We are in talks to make a passenger ship with a capacity of 500 people for Guyana. The size of the contract will not be very high as compared to Naval vessels, but exports is a segment we want to focus on," Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) chairman and managing director Rear Admiral (Retd) V K Saxena told PTI.

A senior company official elaborated that the order pertains to assistance to the South American nation granted by the Indian Government and added that the order will be executed through a line of credit extended by the EXIM Bank of India.

When asked about the order size, the official said it may be over Rs 100 crore, but made it clear that the commercial details are yet to be finalised.

At present, the company has an order book of over Rs 20,300 crore which comes completely from Indian Navy, and over Rs 19,000 crore is from a single platform -- the Project 17 Alpha.

When asked about the excessive thrust on both the Navy and a single platform, Saxena said Naval orders will keep coming in the future as well courtesy the record of making warships for the increasingly important maritime security.

He said GRSE has matched the lowest bidder's quoted amount in a contract for eight vessels whose results will be known by December.

On the Project 17-Alpha stealth missile frigate, Saxena claimed the shipyard is six months ahead of its own schedule.

He pointed out that the company's sister entity MDL (Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd), which is leading the design efforts, has to crystalise the design soon for the frigate costing over Rs 6,000-crore a piece.

Saxena said it will delivering ten warships to the Indian Navy by December 2019. A senior official said it will deliver INS Kavratti, an anti-submarine warfare corvette, by May 2019.

The port is investing over Rs 80 crore over the next three years for increasing is ship building capacity to 24 at a time from the present 20 vessels, Saxena said.

It is also eyeing the repairs and annual maintenance contracts as a sizeable revenue stream going ahead along with exports.

Asked about the increased private play in the defence manufacturing sector, Saxena said the company welcomes competition. He said it is also open for tie-ups both with domestic companies and foreign manufacturers for future projects.

He, however, refrained from commenting when asked about the state-run HAL losing out to a private company for contract under the off-set clause related to the controversial Rafale fighter jet deal signed with France.

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