Blue Star will most probably reach the pre-COVID-19 level demand by the fourth quarter of FY 2020-2021 and even expect a marginal growth of 5-10 per cent in the first quarter of FY 2021-2022, stated B Thiagarajan, Managing Director, Blue Star Limited. In addition, he also hinted that if there is a surge in demand for vaccine refrigeration, Blue Star is equipped for it.
Speaking to The Free Press Journal, Thiagarajan said, “India is not behind when it comes to the vaccine distribution system rather is ahead in this.” So as soon as the COVID-19 vaccine distribution framework is prepared, everything will fall into place, he added. As soon as the framework will be done, Blue Star will engage extensively with state health departments and pharmacies.
Any vaccine distribution requires a temperature of 2-8 degrees Celsius and in this case, two dosages have to be administered for each patient. So, a robust distribution channel for the COVID-19 vaccine like any other vaccines will be important.
One important element in the distribution system is vaccine refrigerator and Blue Star has been one of the leading brands in the space. “In case there is a surge in demand (for vaccine refrigeration systems), our factories are equipped to meet that demand,” added Thiagarajan, during the launch of a wide range of new products and solutions with Virus Deactivation Technology (VDT).
Thiagarajan revealed, “We have ensured that there will be no shortage in supplies for these refrigeration systems (in case of a rise in demand) by stocking all the raw material required for it.”
In addition, while the company lost on the summer sales of air conditioning business, it did see a surge in demand for pharma-related equipment. “Even during the lockdown, we were allowed to operate mainly because we catered to the pharma sector as well.”
Commenting on sales, Thiagarajan said, “Some summers are good, some summers are bad. We will never be able to make up for the losses.” However, he added by Q4 of 2020-2021, the sales will reach pre-COVID-19 levels. “In Q1, there will be a marginal growth of 5-10 per cent in business.”
Many electronics like laptops, washing machines, TV among others have seen a rise in demand due to work from home and other factors, during the pandemic. However, air conditioning was a dampener as there was fear that air conditioning could spread COVID-19. “While demand for refrigerators, washing machines, television sets grew, air conditioning did not grow as much as other electronic products.”
In addition, the company has put on hold its plans to commission its deep freezer factory in Wada mainly due to a drop in demand.