KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 14): The world's top condom maker, Malaysia's Karex Bhd, expects demand to top pre-pandemic levels this year on consumer buying of premium products and restocking by federal health agencies.
Sales to brands such as Durex rose 30% in fiscal 2021 and accounted for 60% of its revenue, up from 49% a year earlier.
"When there was a 40% drop in terms of global consumption, Karex's ... consumer segment has continued to grow," CEO Goh Miah Kiat told Reuters on Friday.
"This year, I expect the demand to recover to pre-pandemic times. Sales value could increase even more as consumers are buying more premium products."
Sales are increasing particularly at the company's consumer business, after the pandemic triggered lockdowns, shutting factories and hampering social activities, Goh told Reuters.
He declined to provide outlook numbers.
In the year ended June 2021, the company's sales grew 6%, versus 4% in the previous year, though it logged its first annual loss since listing in 2013.
For fiscal 2022, analysts expect sales to grow 9%, Refinitiv Eikon data shows.
Goh said demand would be buoyed by restocking by distributors and government departments which have been depleted over the past two years.
"We're starting to see a lot of orders coming in on an emergency basis," Goh said.
The company is also planning to launch new products this year, including a condom made of synthetic material, and is looking to diversify into medical glove manufacturing, Goh said.
It will start out with a target to produce 500 million gloves at its plant in Thailand by March and aims to increase production to a full capacity of 2.5 billion in three years, Goh said.
(US$1 = RM4.1770)