Blue Star was founded in 1943 by Mohan T Advani, an entrepreneur of exemplary vision and drive. The Company began as a modest 3-member team engaged in reconditioning of air conditioners and refrigerators.
Within three years after inauguration, the Company obtained the sole agency of US-based Melchoir Armstrong Dessau Company and several other companies manufacturing air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. Shortly after, the Company was selected by Worthington, the US leader in air conditioning, as its India based partner - these were the first of numerous foreign associations to follow. An expanding Blue Star then ventured into the manufacture of ice candy machines and bottle coolers, and also began the design and execution of central air conditioning projects. This was followed by the manufacture of water coolers.
The proprietorship company set its sights on larger expansions, took on shareholders and became Blue Star Engineering Company Private Limited. After this, it witnessed constant and profitable growth, expanding into new product lines, and in a big move, also began exporting to Dubai.
During these years, a team of dedicated professionals further grew the company. Employee strength crossed the 1000 mark and the company went public in 1969 to become Blue Star Limited, as it continues to be called today.
In 1970, the company took up the all-India distributorship of Hewlett-Packard products. In addition, a series of prestigious projects were entrusted to Blue Star – skyscrapers such as Air India Building, Express Towers, the Oberoi Hotel in Mumbai, as well as several others. Revenues touched the ₹10 crore mark and staff strength doubled to exceed 2000.
The company began building upon existing overseas presence. Blue Star set up a joint venture with Al Shirawi in Dubai and went on to execute some outstanding projects in Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. To complement its air conditioning projects and undertake turnkey industrial projects, an Industrial Division was set up in 1978.
Ashok M Advani and Suneel M Advani, the sons of Mohan T Advani, took over the reins of the company, after spending nearly 15 years within the company steadily climbing up the ladder. A renewed thrust was placed on the company's core business areas – air conditioning and refrigeration, and distribution of professional electronics equipment – and the company emerged a market leader in these focus areas.
India entered an era of economic liberalisation and witnessed an upsurge in competition as the dynamic business scenario attracted the world's most forward-looking corporations. It was time to relook at existing business competencies, re-engineer those that were obsolete and forge ahead in acquiring new business competencies. Blue Star rose to the challenge and expansion continued unabated.
In keeping with this focus, an advanced manufacturing facility was set up at Dadra, in technical collaboration with Rheem, USA, to enhance manufacturing competency. Today, it bears the distinction of being regarded as a state-of-the-art plant India-wide. The dealer network was strengthened and expanded to bring products within easy reach of every customer across India.
The software unit was spun off into a separate company, Blue Star Infotech Ltd, the export of air conditioning products from the Dadra factory began and contract manufacturing for local and foreign brands commenced. A new corporate vision was developed – ‘To deliver a world-class customer experience’.
Blue Star crossed the ₹500 crore milestone in 2000 and the ₹600 crore milestone in 2002-03. With the boom in construction activity and increased infrastructure investments, the company leveraged its leadership position to grow aggressively. In the following three years, the company nearly doubled its revenue, clocking ₹1,178 crores in 2005-06.
The company ventured into the electrical contracting business, offering customers mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) services. From a logistical and technological perspective, this move was facilitated by the company's acquisition of Bangalore-based Naseer Electricals Private Limited.
Blue Star strengthened its electro-mechanical projects business through the strategic acquisition of D S Gupta Construction Private Limited, the largest independent plumbing and fire-fighting contracting company in India. This move fortified Blue Star's position, placing it among India's leading companies in the MEP field.
Blue Star was witnessing a significant demand from the residential segment given the higher disposable income and the growing middle class who are upwardly mobile and seek comfort. The company significantly altered its marketing mix, launching a contemporary and stylish range of split air conditioners to appeal to home consumers, as well as distribution through home appliance retail outlets and enhanced advertising budgets. This foray met with resounding success and Blue Star's room air conditioners sales grew considerably, despite almost flat sales growth in the overall room air conditioners industry.
Blue Star crossed the ₹3,000 crore revenue milestone in 2015. The company identified a new value proposition of 'Nobody Cools Better' which highlights the unmatched expertise, experience and deep understanding of the science of cooling that Blue Star offers to its customers. In 2015, the PE&IS business of the company was transferred to a separate subsidiary called Blue Star Engineering & Electronics in April 2015. The PE&IS business is distinctly different from the air conditioning and refrigeration businesses of the company with minimal business synergy between the two. This independent identity along with specialised resources will enable the business to maximise its full potential. Blue Star has proven that an Indian manufacturer could develop the technology and build a product that meets global standards. Today, Blue Star's room air conditioners are available in 3,500 outlets in over 500 locations spread across the length and breadth of India, via exclusive and multi-brand sales and service air conditioning dealers, retail showrooms and modern trade. The company has also built up a strong installation and service franchise network to support the retailers. It is also working on identifying and developing new opportunities in markets such as the Middle East, North Africa, SAARC and ASEAN regions. This focus will significantly enhance the Blue Star brand beyond India while providing growth opportunities for its businesses, and will go a long way in establishing Blue Star as a true global player.