ShajuShaju Stephen, Managing Director and CEO, SENER India

The Spanish engineering and technology group SENER has opened a division in India with offices in New Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai. This new geographical location responds to SENER’s globalisation strategy and follows the development of previous engineering and construction projects in the country in the fields of infrastructure and transport, aerospace, marine, and power and process. Shaju Stephen reveals his company’s plans for India.

As a company new to the Indian business environment, what are your expectations from Indian operations?
In India, we have long-term expectations in all the four verticals: Aerospace, Infrastructures & Transport, Power & Process, and Marine. The mandate of SENER India is a) to contract local projects b) Develop the local supply chain for our global projects, and c) To take on board and retain the best engineering talent in the country. Our objective is to be a leading engineering company in India in the next three years, innovation and technological differentiation being our best advantages.

You have entered India (office opening in 2013) when the country’s infrastructure projects have taken a beating. Was it a difficult decision?
Our decision to enter a country is strategic, and not driven by the economic cycle that a country is in at a point of time. Infrastructure globally is a cyclical business. We are happy that we entered at the bottom of the upward cycle. The few projects that have been delivered in India in the last couple of years in highways, airports, metro and monorail have triggered the aspirations to have world-class infrastructure. That aspiration will get echoed across the nation, and these projects will get replicated in India. For instance, there are over 20 metro projects in various stages of planning, construction and operation. There are not many countries in the world that can have such significant activity in a sub-sector.

Can you give details of SENER India’s ongoing infrastructure projects in the country?
We currently work with Indian Railway Station Development Corporation as master plan and technical consultants for Bijwasan (New Delhi) and Shivaji Nagar (Pune) railway stations. The engagement is to design world-class railway stations taking into consideration the commercial potential of the railway land around the stations.

India is in the initial stage of upgrading to high-speed railway. What kind of a role/chance would you anticipate for SENER India?
In Spain, we are a leading design and engineering consultant in high-speed railway. Our services cover:

  • Feasibility studies, socio-economical studies, demand forecast, traffic analysis and mobility studies
  • Preliminary, detailed design projects, supervision of works and construction management
  •   Technical specifications and tender document and evaluation
  •   Power supply, signalling and train control
  •   Equipment and rolling stock manufacturing control
  •   Traffic control and communication systems
  • Operation and maintenance organisation and planning
  • Technical and economical auditing

How strong is your presence in ship designing in India? Can you throw light on the past and ongoing projects?
Our software FORAN is a global leader in shipbuilding CAD/CAE/CAM and is currently used in 150 shipyards and design offices located in 30 countries. The product covers all stages of ship design and engineering: concept, contract, detail and production technical assistance. Our existing customer in India is ABG Shipyard. However, the product is used by leading Russian naval shipyards who design/built Indian naval ships. FORAN also has a good market share in China, Japan and Korea.

Out of the four verticals of the company, according to you, which one will generate the maximum business?
Globally, Power & Process is our biggest contributor to our top line due to its focus on EPC/EPCM. We expect the trend to continue in India.

Can you elaborate on the best projects handled by SENER globally?
FIDIC, the International Federation of Consulting Engineers, selected SENER for its centenary award for our Gemasolar project, a solar thermal plant owned and operated by Torresol Energy (60 per cent SENER), and where SENER led plant construction and supplied all of its technology. Held to commemorate the federation’s centenary, these awards recognise the world’s best engineering projects of the last 100 years.

The Gemasolar Plant is one such project and was the winner of an Award of Merit in the major civil engineering projects category, along with other 11 main constructions from around the world, ‘for its contribution to improve quality of life’ as it is written in the prize. This award is the latest in a number of honours which recognise the uniqueness of Gemasolar, a pioneering project. The plant is capable of producing electricity around the clock using only solar energy, thanks to its molten salt storage system.

In this sense, SENER distinguishes itself for venturing into pioneering projects that have never been undertaken before, and the company has the overall capacity to offer a complete engineering and construction package in big civil infrastructure projects and industrial plants, from the basic design to construction, start-up, and operation and maintenance.

Among SENER’s main references they stand out, in Infrastructures & Transport, the Barcelona Metro Line 9; the Sol suburban rail station, in Madrid; the Figueras-Perpignan high-speed line, an international project between France and Spain; or the Fontenova stadium, in Brazil; and, in Power & Process, the Gemasolar plant, the Valle 1 and Valle 2 solar plants, also in Spain; the Gate terminal GNL plant, in The Netherlands; or La Cangrejera petrochemical plant, in Mexico.

What kind of road map do you have for India for the next two years?
In India, we intend to win one major customer in each of the verticals along with a ramp-up of our engineering team.

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