TOP Glove Corp, the world’s largest rubber-glove maker, posted fourth-quarter profit that more than doubled to the highest in at least eight years as the swine flu outbreak bolstered demand for protective gloves.
Net income rose to RM56.8 million (US$17 million), or 19.18 sen a share, in the three months ended Aug 31, from 25.1 million, or 8.53 sen, a year earlier, Selangor, Malaysia-based Top Glove said today.
That’s the highest three- month profit since at least the quarter ended Nov 30, 2000, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The pandemic flu outbreak has raised awareness for health care and boosted global demand for protective gloves, the company said. CIMB Investment Bank Bhd yesterday raised its price estimate for the stock by 15 per cent to RM9.86 because it expected Top Glove’s profit for the year to exceed the brokerage’s estimate.
Top Glove rose 1.8 per cent to RM8.11 as of the 12:30 p.m. break in Kuala Lumpur trading, while the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index added 0.3 per cent. The stock has more than doubled this year, after falling for two straight years.
The company said it will give a final dividend of 15 sen a share, bringing the total payment for the 12-month period to 22 sen, double the 11 sen it paid a year earlier.
The glove maker also said it will build its 21st factory in Klang, outside Kuala Lumpur, with construction scheduled to be completed in July next year. The company currently produces 31.5 billion gloves a year and exports to more than 180 countries.
Over 340,000 cases of swine flu, also known as H1N1, including more than 4,100 deaths, have been reported globally since the outbreak began in April, according to World Health Organization figures on Oct 2.- Bloomberg