KUALA LUMPUR: While pharmaceutical companies are gaining momentum on positive COVID-19 vaccination news, Top Glove Corporation Bhd expects demand for examination gloves to double when the vaccines are ready by year-end.
Its chairman Tan Sri Lim Wee Chai said that over the long term, the glove business remained good and healthy, with the company's share price depending on the earnings and performance.
"Our share price has been doing well for the past 11 months. Just recently, we have had some hiccups and hope it will be temporary and be back to normal.
"Examination gloves are needed to inject vaccines. The world needs to produce seven billion vaccines and will need seven billion pairs of gloves," he said during a Covid-19 update press conference today.
Despite the expected increase in demand, the world’s largest rubber glove manufacturer had to close some of its facilities due to the high COVID-19 infection rate among its workers.
Top Glove's 20 facilities are temporarily closed with eight production lines still operating, thus reducing its production by between 10 per cent and 20 per cent.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Saravanan Murugan previously said it was due to poor living conditions at the workers’ dormitories, which was denied by Lim.
"We welcome him to visit us again. Because since the minister’s visit, our (housing) condition has continued to improve. Why is it so.. it is because we poured in more money to improve facilities and we want to do it quickly.
"So it came as a big surprise when such comments were made. We need to clarify with the ministry to see what are the areas we did not do correctly and how we can improve," he said.
Asked if the high number of cases involving its workers would cause glove contamination, Lim said such cases are unlikely due to the factory environment, which has a temperature of between 30 degrees and 40 degrees Celsius.
"Inside the oven is around 110 degrees Celsius. COVID-19 virus can’t survive in such heat. As for the packaging of our gloves - our workers are equipped with personal protection equipment and have no direct contact with the gloves.
"When we ship through containers, the temperate is hot, above 40 degrees Celsius and it will take about one month to ship to Europe or other countries. Definitely, there is no contamination," he said.
Top Glove shares further fell following its confirmation yesterday that 20 of its factories in Klang would be temporarily shut after a spike in Covid-19 infections among its workers.
The glove maker has seen its stock price declining by about 30 per cent since early November. - Bernama
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