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Ducab’s new solar plant will boost clean energy mix at Ducab’s Jebel Ali facilities

Ducab’s new solar plant will boost clean energy mix at Ducab’s Jebel Ali facilities



Ducab expects solid results

Despite the odds, the UAE’s cable and metal manufacturing major expects solid results from its recently consolidated business unit Ducab Metals Business (DMB) as well as from the wider Ducab business, writes Pummy Kaul

August 2020

Despite the challenging marketing conditions in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ducab Group, one of the UAE’s largest manufacturing businesses, is highly optimistic of the group’s performance.

The cable and metal manufacturing major, expects solid results from its recently consolidated business unit Ducab Metals Business (DMB) as well as from the wider Ducab business, according to a top official.

“At the beginning of the year we anticipated that copper, in particular, will increase 30 per cent in comparison to Ducab sales last year. While Covid-19 has had an impact on the global economy that we supply our cables to, we do still anticipate solid results from DMB as well as from the wider Ducab business,” Andrew Shaw, Managing Director at Ducab told the Gulf Industry magazine in an exclusive interview.

Shaw: optimistic

Shaw: optimistic

“We have not yet disclosed our figures for H1 2020. However, as a cable manufacturer our products are always in demand, and the company is currently in a solid position. As work resumes in building and infrastructure in the months to come we do anticipate potential opportunities for geographical expansion in terms of product sales,” Shaw elaborated.

Referring to the Covid-19 pandemic and its effect on Ducab, Shaw said that its strategy has been to implement measures to protect its people, while limiting disruption in its factories. “This has meant the introduction of remote working for all employees capable of doing so, and strict social distancing within our plants, with more frequent sanitisation. It hasn’t been easy, but the teams on the ground have found new ways of working while maintaining 2m distance from each other. They have done exceptionally well and continued to give 100 per cent even in these unusual working circumstances, which has resulted in minimal production delays,” he said.

Over the past four decades Ducab has grown significantly, and is currently owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai and ADQ (Senaat).

Ducab’s consolidated group sales rose to AED 4.8 billion ($1.30 billion) in 2018, an increase of approximately 7 per cent year on year. Whereas in 2019, the group achieved a 5 per cent climb in overall profitability, driven by gains in key areas of its cable and metal manufacturing portfolio.

By staying at the forefront of global quality standards and pursuing its own R&D agenda, Ducab has also grown from only supporting UAE businesses to now serving customers worldwide in the fields of energy, general construction, defense, rail transport, mining, and other specialist industry sectors.

Today, Ducab exports around 60 per cent of its production across business units to 33 countries in the wider Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Overall exports sales have more than quadrupled in the last two decades.

Ducab has a portfolio of diverse cables

Ducab has a portfolio of diverse cables

The company serves global customers in the energy, construction, transport, defence, mining, and many other sectors and has worked on iconic projects in the UAE including the Dubai Metro, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the Al Barakah nuclear power plant, as well as many landmarks across the globe including the Public Utility Board (Singapore), ICC Tower (Hong Kong), and the Delhi Metro (India).

The company was also the supplier for a wind scheme in the Dhofar region of Oman, and provided its cables for a number of solar power plants within the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.

Outside of the energy sector, Ducab last year said it will meet over 90 per cent of the cable requirements for the Expo 2020 project (now postponed to 2021) including the Route 2020 Metro expansion.

 

DMB’s contribution

According to Shaw, Ducab Metals Business, which includes Ducab’s copper and aluminium business through its units Ducab Aluminium Company (DAC) and the Ducab Copper Rod Plan, will contribute towards expanded local production.

“This new division of Ducab Group provides best in class, made in the UAE copper and aluminium solutions, in line with the strong reputation that Ducab has earned on a global level. This allows us to better serve our clients, while opening new opportunities to expand our business by offering metals services,” Shaw said.

DMB products will be manufactured at the two units - Ducab Aluminium Company (DAC) and Ducab Copper rod plant, both based in Abu Dhabi, UAE—which were consolidated into DMB, earlier this year.

Ducab has laucnhed SolarBICC cables for the growing solar energy market

Ducab has laucnhed SolarBICC cables for the growing solar energy market

DMB, last year, saw impressive gains. In 2019, Ducab’s copper and aluminium business generated over AED2 billion in sales with over 75 per cent of the overall production being exported. The company also increased its copper capacity by 30 per cent to 175,000 tonnes, along with 50,000 tonnes of aluminium, which is allowing the company to grow the number of markets it serves.

Earlier this year, it also opened its 2 MWp Solar Plant. Located at its head office in Jebel Ali, the Solar Plant was developed in partnership with Etihad Energy Service Company (Etihad ESCO). It will help the boost clean energy mix at Ducab’s Jebal Ali facilities, contributing to a reduction of 660 tonnes CO2 annually.

Designed to last the 25-year design life, over 150 km of Ducabís specialist UL certified SolarBICC range of wires have been supplied for the solar plant, that also includes 300 sq.mm low voltage copper cables which have been an integral part of this power plant construction.

The Jebel Ali project utilises the latest smart technology applications including Dewa Smart Metering, remote monitoring of power output using a web or mobile app, and automated self-cleaning solar panels using solar-powered cleaning robots.

Ducab Group comprises three divisions: Ducab High Voltage (DHV), Ducab Cables and Wires (DCB), and Ducab Metals Business (DMB). Each of these divisions produce cable, wire, and metal products that are used across the world, including, of course, in the UAE.

“While we have yet to release figures for H1 2020, we do have positive results for 2019,” said Shaw.

Last year, DHV recorded the highest improvement on the bottom line (79 per cent), with 113 per cent increase in sales. DHV is the first dedicated high voltage (60kV – 150kV) and extra high voltage (220kV – 500kV) power cable manufacturing facility in the Middle East, with the capacity to produce 6,000 tonnes of high voltage power cables per year.

In 2019, DHV sold a cable length of 674 kilometres, an increase of more than 200 per cent compared to the cable length of 316 kilometres sold in 2018. High voltage cables are used primarily in the energy sector, for the transfer and distribution of electricity. They are incorporated into national energy grids, power stations and so on, therefore urban development, which requires expanded energy networks, will contribute to an increase in high voltage cable sales.

Last year also saw success for Ducab Wires and Cables, which recorded a profit increase of 7 per cent in 2019, and Ducab Aluminium Company (DAC) sold 45 per cent higher volume in 2019 in its second year of operations, resulting in a 72 per cent improvement on the bottom line.

Shaw said that while there is high demand for all cables within its portfolio, the company’s FlamBICC range of fire performance cables is used predominantly in building construction. “In the instance of a fire, flame resistant cables can mean a difference of life and death, making them essential in construction – especially residential, office or recreational buildings, where human lives are at risk in emergency situations. FlamBICC cables are rigorously tested to ensure maximum survival when exposed to fire, thereby providing electricity to the building for as long as possible, which can significantly contribute towards successful evacuations. They will also emit less smoke and fewer chemicals than non-certified cables, which is also another vital consideration for saving lives.”

 

Innovative products

According to Shaw, Ducab has a portfolio of diverse cables that are designed specifically to meet the unique needs of several specific sectors and applications.

Ducab, he said, is continuously innovating in terms of cable safety. “Every cable Ducab makes is custom-built based on the requirements of each order. If we receive a request for a new cable that requires something additional to our existing range of products, then our teams will innovate to find a new solution that meets the customer’s needs – such as the creation of NuBICC for the UAE’s nuclear energy sector.

SolarBICC, targeted at the solar power industry, for instance, was developed to support the UAE’s efforts towards developing a more diversified energy sector, as well as in recognition of a global shift towards alternative power sources.

“SolarBICC cables are used in the UAE and around the world, with more than 100km incorporated into our newly-launched Solar Park,” Shaw said.

Similarly, its NuBICC line of nuclear power cables was designed with the UAE’s Barakah Nuclear Power Plant in mind. “Ducab NuBICC cables are the world’s first to be certified for more than 60 years operations in nuclear power plants. The region’s first nuclear power plant uses custom-designed Ducab cables, as do several other power plants around the world,” said Shaw.

The company also has PetroBICC cables for the oil, gas, and petrochemicals industry; FlamBICC fire performance cables; MarineBICC for marine and offshore industry applications; cables for wind energy; RailBICC or the transport and mobility industry; RuBICC rubber cables for flexible applications, and high, medium, and low-voltage cables.

 

facilities

With six manufacturing facilities across four sites in the UAE, Ducab has a manufacturing capability of over 115,000 metal tonnes of high, medium and low voltage cables and upgraded production capacity to 180,000 tonnes of copper rod and wire per annum. Additionally, DAC can produce 55,000 tonnes of aluminium rod and overhead conductor for the electrical supply chain.

While Shaw rules out any immediate expansion in capacity, he however, added: “there are always a couple of proposals on the table for the management consideration. Our current facilities are capable of sustainably meeting the needs of business for the foreseeable future.”

“At this time we will continue to manufacture all of Ducab’s cable products in the UAE, at our facilities in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Ducab’s facilities currently cover 880,000 sq m with six manufacturing plants in the UAE, which also produce ten million metres of insulated building wire a week – which is enough each month to circle the globe,” he noted.  




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