Shri B. Prasada  Rao

Shri B. Prasada Rao

Chairman, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd.

B. Prasada Rao views recent events in North Africa and the Middle East with trepidation. As the domestic market grows ever more competitive, the regions become increasingly important to his company’s bottom line. BHEL is India’s largest manufacturer of power generation equipment. The company is now lobbying to supply equipment for mining projects in Burkina Faso (gold), Niger (uranium) and Sierra Leone (diamonds).

The New Delhi-based company is one of India’s 16 navratna enterprises – parastatals given wide autonomy to pursue their fortunes in international markets. However, power supply remains an urgent concern at home. BHEL stands to grow further as India commissions as much as 80,000 megawatts of additional capacity in its Twelfth Five-Year Plan (2013-17).

BHEL and Patel Engineering bid for the 120-MW hydropower project at Itezhi Tezhi in Zambia in 2010. A US$50 million credit line from the Export-Import Bank of India failed to tip the decision in BHEL’s favour and the project went to China’s Sinohydro. BHEL is now trying to persuade Sinohydro to purchase its equipment for the project. BHEL also faces Chinese competition on the home front. In August, Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Minister Praful Patel offered a testimonial to the efficiency that BHEL’s equipment offers over the Chinese equipment bought by private enterprises such as Reliance Power.

Rao studied mechanical engineering at Jawaharlal Nehru Technical University in Kakinada. He also holds a postgraduate degree from the National Institute of Industrial Engineering in Mumbai. He joined BHEL in 1978 as an engineer. He became Director of Industrial Systems in 2007, and Chairman and Managing Director in October 2009.