Mohammed Al Mutawa, Group CEO of Ducab Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: You have heard CEOs in every industry say it - supply chain issues, spiralling raw material and commodity costs, uncertainty about demand in key markets. It would vibe easy for CEOs and the businesses they head to be sidetracked by the scale of each of these problems. So much so, they fail to find solutions.

Don’t count Mohammed Al Mutawa, Group CEO of Ducab, among them. As chief of one of Dubai’s biggest industrial enterprises, he has been out there trying to keep those prices in check and prise open new overseas markets for the products Ducab builds.

In an interview with ‘Gulf News’, Al Mutawa reckons he has indeed found the answers for the short-term challenges. As for any longer term ones, he is ready to take them on.

Of your production output, would you say that you have reached or reaching the peak of demand from domestic and regional clients?

We have made Ducab as progressive as possible by maximising production, and this comes in line with our growth plan, ultimately contributing to achieving ‘Operation 300bn’, the UAE’s industrial strategy.

With more than 60 per cent of Ducab Group products exported, the company is now one of the world’s leading end-to-end energy solutions provider, delivering solutions and products to over 45 countries across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia, and the Americas.

Ducab continuously aims to expand and diversify its business sectors and geographies, regionally and globally. Having worked on previous phases of the MBR Solar Park project (in Dubai), Ducab HV supplied and installed high-voltage cables for Phase 5 of the park. We also provided solutions for Bannerton Solar Park in Australia and Dhofar Wind Farm in Oman. We eventually aim to maximise our current output from existing products, grow, and expand our operations and markets.

Would your next growth come from overseas?

We have an advantage of being both in the cable and metals businesses - there is always demand for our products. We anticipate growth to come from the domestic market as much as it does from partners in regional and global markets. As always, we are committed to diversifying our entry into new markets. Overall, our exports outside the GCC region grew from 11 per cent to 22 per cent, as we export “Made in the Emirates” cable and metal products to more than 45 countries.

Will it be Europe that can provide that kind of ballast on orders?

Europe is, without a doubt, an exciting and new market that has considerable growth opportunities for Ducab, especially with the ongoing demand for aluminium and copper with energy transition being the biggest driver for this.

We are keen on exploring new possibilities within Europe as well as elsewhere, though it should be noted that Asia remains a growing market.

Building material and other categories have seen sizeable price increases. Have your raw materials needs been going through the same rise?

I think it’s safe to say that price increases have been seen across the board with the current global inflation, whether you’re talking raw materials, building materials or fuel. In the UAE, our prices have increased by 8-10 per cent, and our international prices have increased by 15-20 per cent, all of course due to raw material and freight price increases.

We have been able to maintain supply chains despite global disruptions by working with our partners to ensure stable operations. We ensure that our prices remain competitive and maintain the quality of service that our customers have come to expect from us.

Were the cost increases all linked to inflation?

Yes, we have had to raise prices to accommodate inflation costs. We’ve implemented a price increase in line with the current market rates due to the cost of raw materials and increased freight costs. We have to also remain in line with the current market conditions.

Construction remains one of the key client industries for you. Are there are more signs of local and regional project numbers slowing down?

No, not necessarily. Construction comprises predominantly of two sectors: building, and industrial and infrastructure. They are not necessarily interconnected - if there is a slowdown in building, that does not mean that there will be a slowdown in industrial or infrastructure development. We still see considerable opportunity within the construction sector while we diversify our markets, products and offerings.

Ducab’s clientele, however, extends well beyond construction. We have built a strong portfolio of products that accommodate numerous industries. For example, we offer a range of cable accessories and technical services, and supply cables specific to clean, alternative energy needs - SolarBICC for solar power, and NuBICC for nuclear power, which have been certified for over 60 years of operations.