A few days ago, Hyderabad Metro, India’s second-largest metro project was completed. The 69.2 km long metro will reduce the travel time from 45 minutes earlier to 15 minutes from one end to other end. “As builders of nations, we are proud to be doing the projects that make India proud,” said L&T chief executive and managing director SN Subrahmanyan. “The iconic Hyderabad Metro Rail project ranks among one of most prestigious projects that we have executed,” he added.
The metro project, completed by L&T group, is the world’s largest public-private partnership. Larsen & Toubro Limited, commonly known as L&T Limited, is a company that has its logo on some of the most successful infrastructure projects of the country.
A multinational conglomerate, L&T’s interest range from construction, heavy engineering, shipbuilding, defence and aerospace, as well as in finance and IT. Therefore, on one hand, the company completes some of the most difficult infrastructure projects like Chenani-Nashri Tunnel in Jammu & Kashmir, and on the other hand, it also deals in mutual funds and software engineering.
The Group which comprises 93 subsidiaries, 8 associates, 34 joint-venture and 33 joint operations companies, rightly calls itself: The National Builders. The Group has an annual revenue of 1.41 lakh crore rupees and market capitalization near 2 lakh crore rupees, as per last year’s financial data. It is one of the most profitable groups in the country and employs 4.5 million people.
The Group was founded in Mumbai in 1938 by two Danish engineers, Henning Holck-Larsen and Søren Kristian Toubro, as heavy engineering firm. However, the group rose to prominence under the leadership of Anil Manibhai Naik, a Gujarati engineer, who was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s 2nd highest civilian award, in 2019.
In 2017, Mumbai based business journalist, Minhaz Merchant wrote a biography of Anil Naik, and the company, Larsen & Toubro (L&T), titled The Nationalist: How A.M. Naik Overcame Great Odds to Transform Larsen &Toubro Into a Global Powerhouse. The book talks about Naik’s association of 53 years with the group and how it grew under 18 years of his leadership.
Along with the completion of Metro project in Hyderabad, the Telangana government also announced that Mindtree, a software company acquired by L&T a few months ago, announced a centre at Warangal. “After the joyous occasion of opening the JBS-MGBS Metro line, another piece of good news to share. Delighted to announce that L&T CEO and MD S N Subrahmanyam Garu has agreed to Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao’s suggestion to open a centre of Mindtree Ltd at Warangal city,” said K. T. Rama Rao, son of K. Chandrashekar Rao.
Reviewing his biography for FreePressJournal, Jatin Desai wrote, “Naik spent more than fifty-three years at L&T working nearly eighteen hours a day. Throughout Naik’s career, ethical values were non-negotiable.” As per the biography, “His life story is also story of the growth of L&T.”
In an interview with The Hindu Business Line, Naik said, “I gave zero time to my wife, no time to my children.”
The company has set up target of the market valuation of 2.5 lakh crore rupees for 2022 and now the company is being led by SN Subrahmanyan, whom Naik spotted in 2005, and saw potential in him to lead the company. “I spotted SN Subrahmanyan 12 years ago, four years back I announced that he will succeed me and then about eight months back we announced that Subrahmanyan will be CEO and MD from July 1,” said Naik in an interview in 2017.
With the guidance Naik and leadership of Subrahmanyan, L&T group has witnessed an unprecedented rise in the last few years, especially since Modi government came to power and the Union government’s focus shifted back to infrastructure building. As the government looks to spend 100 billion dollars in the next five years through the National Infrastructure Pipeline, the future of the ‘Nation Builder’ is bright.