Bengaluru: Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) Chairman R Madhavan said on Thursday said that the company’s morale is intact, finances steady and the image has not been ‘dented’ as being portrayed in the media.
Taking questions from the media, first time after HAL got embroiled in a series of controversies over the Rafale deal, depleting finances and the recent Mirage crash, Madhavan presented his army of Directors at the media interaction during the second day of the Plane Carnival.
“We feel bad when things are reported against us, but it has not affected us. We are more enthusiastic. These incidents do not affect our business,” Madhavan said.
He said the financial condition of HAL is very stable and there are no issues as being projected.
“Our reserves and surpluses are very good at this point. Our targets are being met, our profitability is increasing. The only issue was the cash flow, because of some receivable delays and budget allocation delays, even they are being sorted out,” Madhavan said.
Confirming that the cash flow from the armed forces have begun to come, Madhavan said HAL was expecting more resources to come in before March.
Owing to the financial crunch, HAL had to take a loan of Rs 1,000 crore to pay the salaries of around 30,000 staff in December 2018.
Refusing to comment on the raging Rafale row, HAL chief said since it was a direct purchase (36 aircraft), the company did not have any interest on the same.
“If it was the manufacturing, we are interested in it. We are not interested in the offsets in the direct purchases. Also it was a government decision,” Madhavan said.
On the Mirage crash, he said HAL will talk only after the court of inquiry was over.
When asked about the status of Sukhoi, Madhavan said the company was hoping to get an additional squadron of the frontline fighters from the Indian Air Force.
HAL said the first flight of the upgraded version of Tejas (Mk1A) will be around 2022 and the company is exploring options to export the product.
“We are looking at countries in the Asia pacific and North Africa regions. We are taking our product to other air shows. Only after they evaluate and finalise their specification, we can comment on that,” Madhavan said.
He said the additional orders for Tekas Mk1A (83) is expected to come soon with the Defence Ministry currently working out the details.
HAL said it would take at least 3-4 years to complete the Tejas MK1A development. “We are yet to receive the order from IAF but parallel with our own funds, we have started going into the developmental activities,” Madhavan said.
To a specific query from Onmanrama on the efforts put in by HAL to fix the oft-repeated complaint from the customers on the quality of products, Madhavan said there are a number of internal mechanisms in place to check quality.
“We have constant internal quality audits that look into various aspects of production and these are ongoing process,” he said.