KUALA LUMPUR: Hartalega Holdings Bhd is pressing on with its expansion plans as it looks past the short-term headwinds that have taken a bite out of earnings.
"In the short term, external headwinds are expected to persist due to higher commodity and raw material prices caused by disruptions to the global supply chain.
"Nevertheless, the group remains focused on strengthening long-term prospects. Hartalega has a strong track record spanning more than three decades and we continue to prudently build capacity and capabilities for the future," said CEO Kuan Mun Leong in a statement.
While the group's earnings have also been hit by the normalisation of glove average selling prices (ASP), Kuan reiterated the group's optimism over the growth in post-pandemic demand for rubber gloves and further capacity expansion.
"We continue to progress with our latest expansion of the NGC 1.5.
"This will be completed in phases accordingly, conscious of prevailing market supply and demand conditions.
"Over the long run, the NGC 1.5 will enable us to cater to growing structural demand for gloves globally, particularly due to increasing glove usage in emerging markets with a low glove consumption base, as well as higher hygiene awareness among healthcare practitioners in the post-pandemic era,” he said.,
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He added the group will continue to focus on cost optimisation and ramping up automation to enhance operational efficiecy and sustainability.
For the first quarter ended June 30, 2022, Hartalega announced a net profit of RM88.28mil, which was barely 4% of the earnings recorded in the same quarter a year earlier.
Earnings per share came to 2.58 sen while net assets per share stood at RM1.49 as at June 30, 2022.
The group reported revenue of RM845.67mil, which was less than a quarter of the revenue recorded in the comparative quarter.
According to Kuan, in addition to the falling ASP, the group's sales volume declined 28% year-on-year as compared to 1QFY22 when both ASP and sales demand hit a record high during the peak of the pandemic.
"As ASP and demand continued to normalise, this is reflected in our Q1 results, which was further impacted by the higher operating cost environment amid rising inflationary pressure resulting from the higher electricity and natural gas tariffs, as well as the new minimum wage policy implemented in May 2022.
"In addition, heightened market competition was further intensified by the ongoing oversupply situation in the global glove sector,” said Kuan.