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L&T in talks with US firms for Iraq contracts

April 11, 2003 12:04 IST

Engineering giant Larsen & Toubro is trying to secure contracts for reconstruction work in Iraq.

L&T is already talking to the four main US companies that have bagged orders from the US Agency for International Development, the nodal agency overseeing Iraq's reconstruction.

Though L&T hopes to get sub-contracts from the US companies, it is trying to cobble together a consortium of Indian companies to source contracts directly from the interim government in Iraq, once it is set up.

L&T managing director and CEO A M Naik will visit the US next week to hold discussions with senior executives of the Fluor Corporation, Bechtel and Halliburton arm Kellogg, Brown & Root.

"We have had years of partnership with these companies in India and abroad. Moreover, L&T knows Iraq well as we have worked on several projects there. We hope this will prove helpful in getting large orders," Naik said.

"The first round of contracts has gone to the US companies and we can only get sub-contracts from them. But about $2-2.5 billion worth of high-end contracts are likely to be handed out in the next round when an Iraqi government takes charge," Naik added.

L&T is also trying to bring together Indian companies interested in bidding for contracts in the second round.

"I have already spoken to the chairmen of several companies, top officials in the government and the Prime Minister's Office to seek diplomatic support," Naik said.

He, however, did not reveal the names of these companies, but said they included several public sector undertakings.

"For the first round of sub-contracts, we will be seeking high-end jobs in refineries and oilfields. We will not be interested in low-end work like house construction," Naik said.

L&T already has a strong presence in West Asia, which is one of its core markets. At present, it has large orders from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and even Iraq.
Arijit De & Rumi Dutta in Mumbai