Tractebel Engineering, an industrial engineering consultant for gas and power projects, has acquired a Chennai-based firm—setting into motion a strategic plan that will see the company scale up its India operations and make a foray into the thermal power market.

The Belgian engineering firm’s India arm, Tractebel Engineering Pvt. Ltd., has bought out Cethar Consulting Engineers Ltd.

While the financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, Cethar’s employee base of over 100 engineers will start integrating with Tractebel over the next few months.

“We’re on the look out for more acquisitions, which, we believe, will accelerate our pace of growth here, and hope to make India a support hub for Asia,” said Marc Lepiece, Executive Vice-President, International Development, in an interaction with The Hindu on Thursday.

“We understand that the thermal power market, which Cethar has competency in, in India is not doing well. However, we want to be poised to take advantage when the recovery does come,” he added.

Course correction

Tractebel Engineering remains bullish on the Indian power sector, despite the number of stalled projects, with the company’s India Managing Director saying that the current situation was merely “course correction.”

“On the public sector side yes, we see officials frightened to take decisions. Some officials are afraid that even after they retire they will be pulled up for decisions they have taken, On the private sector side, we see extreme caution,” said Sunil Mehra, Managing Director, Tractebel Engineering Pvt. Ltd.

However, Mr. Mehra said, “Some of the biggest private players were too eager and hungry for profit. The economic situation will soon correct itself… when growth comes down it is natural that controls and correction will set in.”

According to Mr. Mehra, the trick for engineering consulting firms is to find silver linings and work towards long-term sustainability— a move that involves more exposure to thermal and hydroelectric projects.

This story has been corrected for a spelling error.

More In: Industry | Business