Dubai: A focus on growing its export markets is paying off for Ducab, the UAE’s manufacturing giant, to compensate for lacklustre demand locally, according to the cable company’s new CEO.
“We felt the slowing number of [construction] projects, either postponed or pushed back,” said said Mohammed Abdul Rahman Al Mutawa, who incidentally is also the first Emarati to be made CEO at the company. “Ducab was able to compensate for that through-out international presence.”
Ducab has always had a good exposure in the Far East markets, but more recently, it has chipped away building up a clientele in Europe. This is what helped to see off the constant volatility in 2020.
No down time
All this came about even as Ducab did not report a single day lost to the COVID-19 induced lockdowns at its massive plants in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. “We did not lose a day of work, neither in operations nor in the administration,” the CEO added. “We managed the circumstances quite well. Asia still sits as one of our biggest export markets, but others are coming up strongly.
"But the UAE and GCC remain our biggest chunk.”
As to whether Ducab reduced its output during the year, the official said, “There are no cuts on the production side, not at all.”
Ahead of his promotion, Al Mutawa was CEO at a Group entity - Ducab Cable Business. During that tenure, the wire and cables export business has grown to generate about 25 per cent of overall revenues and ships its products to 20 plus countries.
He was part of the group that came up with the company’s 5-year strategic plan, and had served as chief commercial officer at the entity. He joined Ducab from EGA after qualifying as an industrial engineer from the US.
The CEO said that offering generous incentives was not how the company won – or retained – its clients last year.
“We supported by getting closer to clients and understanding their problems,” he said. “We always look at opportunities to be more competitive, create new markets with new products and new clients. That’s standard practice for us.
“In good times, all companies shine. But companies that support in bad times end up shining brighter. We looked for the long term, and created value during the bad times.
“We saw a payback on investments done by the company in past years. My biggest priority is to capitalise on this agility and prepare Ducab for the next 40 years.”
The CEO prefers to use the term ‘optimise’ when it comes to costs and the need, if any, to bring them down. “We are always looking to innovative ways to stay competitive,” he said. “The lifeline of any organisation is the investment they do in the future.
“That compels us to focus on opportunities to diversify, to get the company more energsed. That’s the outlook. That’s what kept us strong, and will keep us relevant for the future.”