Home-grown airconditioner and home appliances maker Blue Star is betting big on its commercial refrigeration business amid widening use cases for products under this segment and tightening quality standards which are making import of Chinese products uncompetitive.  

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, B Thiagarajan, MD, Blue Star Ltd said import of commercial refrigeration products like deep freezers from China have become uncompetitive due to higher import duty, mandatory quality control BIS certification and hike in commodity prices.  “Importing deep freezers from China was cheaper at some point but today it is no longer cheaper or feasible.” 

Widening use cases

He added that while air conditioners continue to be a good segment, the commercial refrigeration segment is more exciting due to widening use cases ranging from agriculture to dairy to  processed food industry, healthcare and quick services restaurants.

Blue Star forayed into the commercial refrigeration segment in the 1950s through water cooler manufacturing. It has since expanded its portfolio to include products like deep freezers, bottled water dispensers, modular cold rooms, commercial kitchen refrigeration products, medical refrigeration products and cold storage solutions. 

Thiagarajan said while the company has 13.75 per cent of market share in the residential air conditioner segment, its market share in the commercial refrigeration ranges from 29-35 per cent across the above product categories. “Last year, our turnover was around ₹6,100 crore. This year, we should be doing around ₹8,200 crore and commercial refrigeration should contribute about 20 per cent.”