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THE market value of the top glove maker in Malaysia is now equivalent to that of a bank plus a plantation giant.
This is the current scenario in Bursa Malaysia as investors shovel billions of ringgit into glove manufacturers, resulting in the ballooning of their market capitalisation.
At last Wednesday’s close, Hartalega Holdings Bhd, with a market cap of RM68.96 billion, overtook Public Bank Bhd to become the third largest company on Bursa. The largest is Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) with a market cap of RM87.12 billion, followed by Top Glove Corp Bhd (RM70.61 billion).
In a nutshell, the market is valuing banking tycoon Tan Sri Dr Teh Hong Piow’s stake in Public Bank lower than Tan Sri Dr Lim Wee Chai’s equity interest in Top Glove, as well as Kuan Kam Hon’s holding in Hartalega.
At Public Bank’s July 29 close of RM17.54, Teh’s deemed interest of 23.41% in the bank was valued at RM15.94 billion. This is as opposed to RM24.24 billion for Lim’s 34.4% deemed interest in Top Glove, and RM33.76 billion for Kwan’s 48.96% deemed interest in Hartalega.
Meanwhile, knocking on the door of the top 20 companies are Supermax Corp Bhd, which has seen its market cap swell to RM24.12 billion, and Kossan Rubber Industries Bhd, at RM22.92 billion. The two companies are ahead of the likes of RHB Bank Bhd, Telekom Malaysia Bhd and Genting Bhd.
Year to date, Hartalega and Top Glove have gained 267% and 456% respectively. Supermax has soared 1,244% while Kossan has surged 331% so far this year.
Top Glove and Supermax closed at new record highs last Tuesday, while Hartalega and Kossan hit all-time highs last Wednesday.
On top of the expected super profit, boosted by higher sales and selling prices, the news flow on the Covid-19 pandemic is showing no sign of slowing globally. The rebound in the number of new cases in Malaysia — 39 reported last Tuesday — has also grabbed attention.
The four glove makers combined have a market cap of RM186.61 billion, versus RM223.45 billion for Malaysia’s four largest banks — Maybank, Public Bank, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd and Hong Leong Bank Bhd.
To put things in perspective, ceteris paribus and with RM70 billion in hand, one could buy either Top Glove or Hartalega, or take over two companies — Hong Leong Bank and Sime Darby Plantation Bhd (see chart).
For Supermax and Kossan, their individual market cap is more than that of RHB Bank or Petronas Dagangan Bhd.
Even the small-cap glove makers are making stride, with their market cap exceeding some of the staple counters and past market favourites.
Comfort Gloves Bhd, for example, is now more expensive than UMW Holdings Bhd and Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd, as well as two former oil and gas favourites combined — Sapura Energy Bhd and Bumi Armada Bhd. Rubberex Corp Bhd is now valued higher than Ajinomoto (M) Bhd and Berjaya Corp Bhd, whereas glove dipping line manufacturer HLT Global Bhd, whose rubber glove manufacturing business had been loss-making, is now pricier than retail chain group MyNews Holdings Bhd.
“Previously, banks had very heavy weightage on the FBM KLCI. It is cyclical,” says an investment analyst.
“We are currently in a news- and sentiment-driven environment, where interest rates are low but safe havens like gold and stocks are gaining in parallel. We are in unprecedented times,” he adds.
However, he cautions that glove manufacturing is not a super-high-tech business. “The market is always right. It will eventually achieve an equilibrium, so enjoy it while it lasts.”

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