2G Factor : Reddy and Rao
While Reddy, 68, a US citizen, started as government contractor making small dams, power houses, canals, bridges, and roads, mechanical engineer, Rao, 60 began his innings with a small jute mill in the late 1970s in Rajam in Andhra Pradesh.
Both diversified in the early 1980s with Reddy, a Bachelor of Arts, setting up Novopan Industries and Rao diversifying into ferro-alloys and sugar. While GMR’s Rao saw opportunities in banking and transformed Vysya Bank into a first generation bank, GVK’s Reddy invested his money in setting up four Taj hotels including Taj Krishna, Taj Residency, Taj Banjara and Taj Chandigargh in a tie-up with the Tatas.
With the government opening up the economy in the early 1990s, both Reddy and Rao started dreaming big and set up power and road projects. Reddy set up the 216 MW Jegurupadu power plant and is now commissioning the 220 MW phase II of the project and 414 mw Gautami power project. Rao went out of Andhra Pradesh to set up his projects in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Today GMR group’s Mangalore power station is the world’s largest, and India’s first barge-mounted combined cycle power plant.
Early this decade, Reddy started construction of a part of Golden Quadrilateral highway between Jaipur and Kishangarh. But Rao took the first step in private sector airport construction by winning the bid to make a brand new airport in Hyderabad which is coming up as a public-private partnership.
With both Reddy — now with assets of more than Rs 4,000 crore — and Rao now being mandated to improve the conditions of the Mumbai and New Delhi airports, respectively, it will be a big challenge for both the entrepreneurs to make these two airports true world class.