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ABB is optimistic about India, says Brice Koch

According to reports, Zurich-based ABB’s group executive committee member Brice Koch, who heads its $8- billion power systems business, is upbeat about business prospects in India. For ABB India, the business accounted for 30% of its Rs 7,470-crore revenues in 2012.
In an interview with ET, he said the company is optimistic despite uncertainty and hurdles, particularly in the power sector.

Edited Excerpts:

What are your interests in India amid changing scenario in power sector?

We see increasing complexities of grid systems in India since you neither know the power consumption nor the generation as share of unpredictable renewable energy is on rise. So you need to put intelligence in the grid. In India, experienced engineers put their ear or coin on grid components to assess their working conditions based on level of noise. But it is not the solution.

In past couple of years, ABB acquired two companies in the US and Australia and we are ready to launch their software that will identify component-wise need for maintenance.

How attractive is Indian market for ABB for procurement when rupee is depreciating?

Out of 20,000 people of power systems division worldwide, as many as 2,500 are working in India that barely figures in our top-five markets. We are increasing engineering capacity in India because combined with opportunities in the local market, it produces half a million English-speaking engineers every year.

Favourable exchange rate gives you an advantage, but it is dangerous to bet whole strategy on it. So the point here is can ABB go further and faster in India? And the answer is yes, I am sure we can. This is the question we need to address during our soon-to-be-held annual budget exercise as ABB controls 75% in ABB India.

Does the situation in India worry you?

It does not. There is uncertainty of one kind or the other in every part of the world. It is a matter of being prudent and not panicking.

How do you look at India as an investment destination?

It is not relevant what we spent where. We have an engineering centre with 500 engineers in Chennai that manages projects for worldwide. It is about giving much more responsibility to a country. We see India as high-quality place. So the impact on our business is huge, irrespective the size of our investments.

We want India to develop more products. We strongly believe in India in terms of its market and competencies.

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