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Vir S Advani, vice-chairman and managing director of Blue Star Limited with Dawood Bin Ozair, CEO, Blue Star International
Vir S Advani, vice-chairman and managing director of Blue Star Limited with Dawood Bin Ozair, CEO, Blue Star International

Published: Sun 28 Nov 2021, 10:51 AM

Blue Star is currently concentrating on a long-term expansion strategy throughout the region, with a particular focus on the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria

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With a legacy of more than 60 years in the region, India’s Blue Star Limited has opened its first showroom in the UAE and is geared up with a strategic plan for business continuation and expansion.

The new showroom of Blue Star International FZCO is situated near the airport at Al Garhoud, bringing on display its wide range of products that have secured a loyal market in this region so far. “It is heartwarming to see how we have grown from a single manager running our operations here to a fully equipped and high-skilled team of employees to help us drive the existing business and future growth,” said Vir S Advani, vice-chairman and managing director of Blue Star Limited, who is in Dubai to receive the prestigious Golden Visa by the UAE Government. “This is an extra moment of happiness and I am very proud to receive this honour.”

Blue Star Limited is a 78-year-old organisation based in Mumbai, India. It’s a public listed company quoted in Mumbai Stock Exchange with its core business in manufacturing air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment. The brand’s wide range of offerings include unitary products such as small window ACs, to splits, water coolers, as well as Applied Systems such as ducted, VRF and large chillers, and cold rooms.

“Applied Systems is where the value proposition is important, as they are our engineered solutions. These include products like ducted units, VRF systems, chilled water systems; all these are larger applications like in villas. As we see it, value proposition for an Indian brand is in the applied systems, as we have R&D, manufacturing and engineering capabilities, which are important to this category,” explained Vir. “Going forward, Blue Star which was historically known for products like window units and room ACs and water coolers, will now have more visibility in the applied systems market. Getting this sales install test commission (SITC) model or turnkey model, we hope to break the market, which is otherwise dominated by Japanese and American firms. That will be our unique selling point (USP).”

As did the rest of the world, the company faced challenges during the Covid-19 outbreak. Steep rise in material and logistic prices as well as the market slow down had negative impact on the business. But there was a silver lining as well.

“Through Covid-19, we have seen reasonable growth in our systems and solutions business — it has been phenomenal. At the head office in DAFZA, we witnessed about 36 per cent growth over last year and 22 per cent over the year before that. At an international level, we have seen growth, but at the UAE level we have witnessed twice as much growth because of this new value added proposition,” added Dawood Bin Ozair, chief executive officer, Blue Star International FZCO.

While Blue Star remained promptly active in the face of the pandemic, ensuring the safety and security of its employees by providing the required medical care and vaccination drives to its staff, which resulted in better efficiency, productivity and raising staff morale. As a result, financial performance in the first half of 2022 is 136 per cent of the same period 2021 and 122 per cent of 2020 (excluding joint ventures).

The business was set up in the region more than 60 years ago, with Al Rostamani Group being its first business partner in the UAE and continue to be its current distributor and dealer for products. The company established its subsidiary, Blue Star International FZCO in DAFZA in 2017 as the headquarters for international operations, overseeing the Middle East, Africa, SAARC and South East Asia regions. The company has signed two joint venture operations in Qatar and Malaysia undertaking large electro-mechanical projects, with operations that cover 18 countries.

In 2018, the company further invested in UAE by establishing Blue Star Systems & Solutions LLC in Dubai. With the aim to offer turnkey integrated solutions to customers and cater to air-conditioning and refrigeration projects in the UAE to undertake, install, commissioning, testing, service and provide spare parts.

“We felt that this is a unique way to capture the market here because it will be a unique value proposition to offer. We can easily claim that no air conditioning company in the region provides an end-to-end solution as Blue Star does. We have also invested in a state-of-art display and training centre. This is a window for the region and our customers come from other markets to touch and feel our products in this facility,” says Dawood.

Blue Star has been heavily investing in R&D on a regular basis in terms of manpower, scientific tools and equipment. With a total of five existing manufacturing facilities in India, a sixth one is getting ready in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh.

The company aims to expand to new markets, particularly Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Nigeria, where they have identified potential for growth. Additionally, with Expo 2020 Dubai, the company feels there will be more visibility on Blue Star and its operations in the region.

“I would like to congratulate the leadership of this country for their great vision in steering the country to success in these difficult times. This is evident in the best of infrastructure, efficient facilities and the ease of doing business in this nation. Hence, it is no surprise that Dubai has seen a 69 per cent raise in new business,” says Vir, adding: “In the first 10 months of 2021, the UAE was rated the best destination for FDI in the MENA region. Furthermore, the UAE leadership has handled the Covid-19 situation remarkably well. Our employees were well taken care of, and we are very appreciative of that. We look forward to doing more and more business in the country. I offer my best wishes for the forthcoming UAE National Day, which I will celebrate with the UAE Ambassador in New Delhi.”

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