BEML order crunch

Calcutta, Dec. 5: BEML, a state-owned heavy engineering and equipment manufacturer, may see a marginal decline in its order book in the current fiscal because of sluggish mining activity and lack of demand for mining equipment that constitutes a majority of its business.

The Bangalore-based company, which had an order book of over Rs 7,000 crore in 2011-12, may see an order book of about Rs 6,900 crore, P. Dwarkanath, chairman and managing director of BEML, today said on the sidelines of the International Mining and Machinery exhibition here today.

"We are facing demand problems from the mining sector, where we have around 52 per cent of our business. Orders from Coal India have been slow compared with last year," Dwarkanath said.

"But we are expecting some traction to come in the next four months where we are seeing a good provision for mining equipment. This may take us to an order book size of about Rs 6,900 crore, which is close to last year's figure," he said.

The company is focusing on the export markets for mining equipment as domestic demand is sluggish.

"In the domestic market we see an order visibility of another Rs 400 crore. However, our exports have been good this year. Last year, we had about Rs 180 crore export and this year we have already crossed that mark," Dwarkanath said, adding that demand from defence and railways continues to be strong.

The company has recently concluded a deal to export dumpers and excavators worth Rs 71 crore to Saudi Arabia.