Ebola warning, Demands for Gloves Increase

Shares in glove-making firms on Bursa Malaysia soared against a weaker market as Sierra Leone declared an emergency on the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa.

At the close yesterday, Supermax was up 19 sen to RM2.36 after a two-month slump, Top Glove rose 14 sen to RM4.77, Kossan climbed eight sen to RM4.09, while Hartalega gained four sen to RM6.65.

Dealers said the stocks were played up amid concerns over an Ebola pandemic, which would create demand for their products.

In West Africa, the lethal virus has killed 729 people since February, compelling the World Health Organisation (WHO) to discuss with affected nations in Guinea a US$100mil response plan yesterday.

On Thursday, the WHO reported 57 new deaths this week in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

One of the world’s deadliest viruses, the Ebola infection causes fever, vomiting, bleeding and diarrhoea.

Top Glove’s share price movement had been lacklustre since posting lower-than-anticipated second-quarter results for the financial period ended Feb 28, 2014 on lower sales volume and margin compression from increased competition in latex and nitrile segments.Its improved earnings of RM42.4mil for the third quarter ended May 31, 2014, compared with the preceding year’s RM40.3mil, failed to catalyse better share price performance.

Kossan’s share price saw a sharp spike from RM3.76 in early July to RM4.21 on July 11, following an announcement of its acceptance of a hire-purchase facility of RM18.72mil from OCBC to finance the purchase of new rubber gloves production lines in mid-June. The facility would fund the business operations of its wholly-owned subsidiary Perusahaan Getah Asas Sdn Bhd.

/theSTAR 02-08-2014

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