No. 36: Larsen & Toubro

Anil Manibhai Naik, 63, CEO since 1999
The BusinessWeek 50


Engineering & Construction


$3.3 billion


$239 million




India has finally gotten serious about refurbishing its dilapidated infrastructure -- the roads, bridges, electrical grids, and water systems that will help it mature into a modern economy. No company was happier with that decision than Larsen & Toubro Ltd. (BOM ), India's largest engineering and construction conglomerate. L&T, as it is known, has seen revenues grow 35% in 2004-05, and profits climb 85%. Investors call it the best proxy for India's investment boom: In the last 12 months, its stock price is up 82%.

The force behind L&T is its hard-driving CEO, Anil Manibhai Naik. A lifer since 1965, Naik rose from the ranks to become CEO. (L&T was founded in 1938 in Bombay by two Danes.) Despite L&T's success, Naik is not satisfied. On a recent trip to China he found the pace of development ``mind-boggling'' and India far behind. ``All developing countries have built their economies on the back of a strong infrastructure and manufacturing base,'' he says. ``Without that, we can't progress.''

He's not waiting. Naik has a five-year plan for L&T that includes aggressive expansion abroad. Last year, L&T set up sales offices in China. It will soon bid for projects there. It already has large construction and design centers in the United Arab Emirates.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.