UAE’s Blue Ocean Global Group ready to give manufacturing a try with Black + Decker alliance

Shahzad Ahmed of Blue Ocean Global Group
Shahzad Ahmed of Blue Ocean Global Group: “As we were working closely with Black + Decker on a range of small kitchen appliances, we saw the opportunity of manufacturing their nonstick cookware.” Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: One UAE company is no longer content with being a distributor.

The Blue Ocean Global Group has started manufacturing the Black + Decker cookware range after years spent distributing the brand as well as others in the region. The step up into manufacturing could even lead to a full-scale plant in the UAE if the numbers prove conducive, according to a senior official.

“The global cookware market was $11.84 billion in 2020, and growing at 6.99 per cent per year,” said Shahzad Ahmed, Chairman and CEO. “If we can acquire a small slice of this business, we could create employment in the UAE.”

For now, Blue Ocean Global is sourcing supplies from third-party manufacturers. “Since we have just started licensed manufacturing, we are exploring all possibilities,” said Ahmed. “As the volume is low at the beginning, we are currently outsourcing.”

There are only two major players in the cookware category, and this segment is around $600 million in the region and growing at 5% annually

– Shahzad Ahmed of Blue Ocean Global Group

Quite the leap

Even then, from being a box mover to actually take a license for manufacturing is quite the leap. White goods and home appliance manufacturing is all about economies of scale, and a factory in China, India or the Far East could easily provide that. For Blue Ocean to consider a plant that can ramp to such a scale is itself a breakthrough.

“Blue Ocean Global Group pioneered in distributing goods manufactured by global multinational brands,” he added. “We have excelled in a major part of the supply chain.

“Manufacturing is an entirely different line of business and this is the beginning for us. That’s why we wanted to be very careful with an initiative undertaken at the height of the pandemic. We are mindful of the global economic situation – however, despite the pandemic, our initial stocks have been well received in the GCC market.”

The Group currently covers 40 countries with a team of more than 50. It has a network of more than 100 distributors and 250 system integration partners. In the UAE, the network extends to 400 retail chains.

“As we are expanding into the UK and the EU, we see great opportunity in the future,” the CEO said. “Once the pandemic is over, we expect a massive surge in demand for the cookware sector. Our current production might not be enough to meet that demand – we then will have to look at manufacturing opportunity.”