Consumer appliances brand Blue Star’s Chairman Shailesh Haribhakti is hopeful of business to improve from the second quarter of 2021-22 after being hit hard by the second wave of COVID-19, coupled with a ‘bad summer season’.
Blue Star is also planning to participate in the production linked incentive (PLI) schemes announced by the government through a newly formed subsidiary.
“The company’.s newly formed subsidiary, Blue Star Climatech Ltd, will participate in the PLI scheme for some of the components which it will manufacture in its new manufacturing unit being set up in Sri City,” Haribhakti added.
It is also investing around Rs 130 crore on a new manufacturing facility for deep freezers and water coolers at Wada, Maharashtra which is likely to be commissioned towards the end of 2021.
This new plant, likely to be commissioned towards the end of 2021, is expected to have the capacity to produce around 2,00,000 deep freezers and 1,00,000 storage water coolers annually.
“The sudden turn of events consequent to the emergence of the second wave of COVID has crippled the economy and our businesses in Q1FY22, and we have had to cope with another bad summer season,” Haribhakti wrote in his address to shareholders in the company”s annual report for 2020-21.
He, however, said,”With a renewed national focus on strengthening the healthcare infrastructure and an accelerating vaccination drive, I am hopeful that things will begin to improve from Q2FY22.”
The air conditioning and commercial refrigeration major is also focusing on expanding its exports after having learnt lessons from the pandemic on the need to mitigate geographical concentration and seasonality risks.
In this context, he added,”growing our exports is critical. In FY21, we further consolidated our position in the Middle East, North Africa and SAARC regions and continued to invest in building the Blue Star brand in the Middle East.”
Haribhakti identified enhancing competitiveness across all business lines as a top priority “in order to improve our market share in India and in international markets” and the company has initiated several strategic programmes in this direction.
These include investments R&D, Industry 4.0, capacity expansion, de-risking of supply chains and digital initiatives, including customer analytics and robotic process automation, among others.
“We aim to grow our market share in India by expanding our distribution reach and making the Blue Star brand relevant to emerging new customers in both B2C and B2B segments. We will continue to make significant investments in brand building as well,” he said.