State-run aviation major Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has thrashed all claims of its poor financial condition. HAL’s chairman and Managing Director, R. Madhavan said HAL has orders worth Rs. 64000 crore in its bag which is enough for the next 4 years.
Madhavan has taken the charge of the office in September. On Friday, he talked in his first media interaction about HAL’s condition and the running and expected projects. “These are confirmed orders pending execution. We are comfortable. We don’t have any shortage of work.” Though we definitely would prefer a better order book, it is not that bad, he added.
He said that they are also expecting orders coming in the next 3-6 months. “The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mark 1 supplies will start in 2021. We are also expecting orders for the Light Combat Helicopter (LCH)”, he said. HAL will start the production of LCH with an initial order of 15.
Apart from these, the order of Sukhoi-30 is a running order along with the repairs and overhaul of aircraft for the IAF.”This adds to my sales. Every year, it comes as a support system for the Indian Air Force”, he said. This order, executed at HAL’s Nashik location, will last for another 17 months.
After it, HAL will start producing more LCAs at Nashik unit, it won’t be shut down. “Another line of LCA will be brought up there. As of now, we have a line that makes eight LCA’s per year. We want to enhance this to 16 and then to 20 a year. Our order book is for 83 aircrafts” said Madhavan.
Madhavan said that last year HAL had recorded sales of 18,200 crores, 4000 crores standing as receivables from IAF in its books. As for the cash crunch, he said, HAL has yet to recover 9000 crores from the Armed Forces of which around 7000 crores from Air Force. IAF has released Rs. 2000 crore of the dues.
During the June quarter, HAL’s cash balance was 6000 crore which came down to 1000 crore in September. Air Force was not able to pay the dues due to some issues with the defense budget. The payment will be made as soon as more allocation is done to the Air Force, said Madhavan.
It was believed that, if HAL does not receive its dues in time, it will be required to borrow money from outside to pay for its expenses. But the claims by the HAL chairman assure that the situation won’t get down to that level. “We have been a debt-free company and are quite strong on our finances,” said Madhavan.
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