Magazine

No. 36: Larsen & Toubro


INDUSTRY

Engineering & Construction

SALES

$3.3 billion

PROFITS

$239 million

DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/

AFP/GETTY IMAGES

India has finally gotten serious about refurbishing its dilapidated infrastructure -- the roads, bridges, electrical grids, and water systems that will help it mature into a modern economy. No company was happier with that decision than Larsen & Toubro Ltd. (), India's largest engineering and construction conglomerate. L&T, as it is known, has seen revenues grow 35% in 2004-05, and profits climb 85%. Investors call it the best proxy for India's investment boom: In the last 12 months, its stock price is up 82%.

The force behind L&T is its hard-driving CEO, Anil Manibhai Naik. A lifer since 1965, Naik rose from the ranks to become CEO. (L&T was founded in 1938 in Bombay by two Danes.) Despite L&T's success, Naik is not satisfied. On a recent trip to China he found the pace of development ``mind-boggling'' and India far behind. ``All developing countries have built their economies on the back of a strong infrastructure and manufacturing base,'' he says. ``Without that, we can't progress.''

He's not waiting. Naik has a five-year plan for L&T that includes aggressive expansion abroad. Last year, L&T set up sales offices in China. It will soon bid for projects there. It already has large construction and design centers in the United Arab Emirates.


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