Things looking up for condom makers during stiff times


  • Business
  • Thursday, 05 Mar 2009

MUAR: Demand for condoms usually rises when there is an economic slowdown. Condoms also sell well during major sporting international events such as the Olympics and World Cup, with their usage during these major events in host countries increasing with higher tourist arrivals.

“This is always the trend and it augurs well for condom makers,” Takaso Resources Bhd managing director Francis Tee Tze Chern told StarBiz after the company AGM recently.

He said unlike the 1997-98 economic crisis that affected only Asian countries, the downturn this time involved developed economies such as the US, Europe and Japan.

Tee said people were unwilling to forego the pleasure of having sex during recession but were unwilling to shoulder additional commitment such as having children.

He said usage of condoms was expanding in countries such as the US, Europe, Japan and Singapore, which have already slipped into recession. Demand for condoms in the last quarter of 2008 had been good when the credit crunch and financial crisis started in the US, he added.

“Many people find that engaging in sexual activities is one way to relieve stress and de-stress in these trying times,” he said.

Takaso manufactures condoms under its brand names Playsafe and Romantic, and baby products under brand name Japlo. It exports these products to 39 countries. It is also involved in the trading of baby apparel, infant milk and toiletries and contract manufacturing of condoms for other companies.

Tee said condoms and baby products contributed equally to the company’s earnings and Takaso would continue to develop new baby products. He said competition in the condom business worldwide was becoming stiffer as there were many new brands being introduced in the market.

“Condom users are becoming more selective. Apart from going for brands, they also looking at packaging and how companies market the product,” he said. He anticipated demand for baby-related products would probably decline during the recession but remain encouraging in China, Russia and the Middle East as these countries had huge reserves and still strong consumer confidence.

Tee said demand for such products would also come from eastern European countries as they were not as badly affected as their western counterparts. For its first quarter ended Oct 31, Takaso saw its net loss and revenue decline to RM0.95mil and RM4.77mil against RM0.26mil and RM6.25mil respectively in the previous corresponding period.

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