Mr. Bhadresh K. Shah is the founder and Managing Director of AIA Engineering, the second largest Hi-Chrome casting producer in the world. AIA Engineering is a globally acclaimed metallurgical products company that specializes in the design, development, manufacture, installation and servicing of metal castings across industries. In 2013, IIT Kanpur conferred upon him the Distinguished Alumnus Award for entrepreneurial excellence.
Mr. B.K. Shah received his B.Tech. in metallurgical engineering from IIT Kanpur in 1974. In 1976, keen to start his own venture, he set up a foundry with the aid of bank loans and financial assistance from his father. His first attempt at supplying metal castings to compressor makers and textile units failed because of poor product quality. Being pragmatic, he adopted a rational approach and changed his business plans. In 1977, he started supplying replacement components to power plants. Two years later, he set up a company named Ahmedabad Induction Alloy (AIA), in partnership with one of his friends. The company manufactured steel alloys and iron castings for power plants.
As the revenues started pouring in, Mr. Shah took the next step to improve his company's technical prowess and tied up with a Belgian consultancy firm, Slegten, SA, in 1988. This turned out to be a major turning point in the company's growth as it led to joint ventures. The company that had earlier turned down a tie-up with AIA approached Mr. Shah for collaboration. Magotteaux, the world-leading industry equipment supplier, suggested to form an incorporation called AIA Magotteaux. Though his friend opted out of the business partnership after a month, Mr. Shah went ahead and united AIA with AIA Magotteaux. The arrangement, however, did not work out as planned and led to a legal conflict between the partners. The issue was finally resolved with Mr. Shah buying back the stake in the Indian unit from Magotteaux. He renamed the Indian unit as AIA Engineering and returned to India. He then focused all his energies in rebuilding the company and gradually expanded his business network across the globe. With some help from friends, he opened a subsidiary in London and started marketing his products. In 2008, he decided to tap the mining sector for further expansion besides the power and cement industries.
At present, AIA owns four factories one each in Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Bangalore and Trichy. The company's two-third of the revenues are generated through exports. He anticipates a growth rate of 15 to 20% every year. Inspired by the French ruler Napoleon Bonaparte's victory over much of Europe, he intends to develop his business in foreign countries.