SINGAPORE -- Malaysia's Top Glove, the world's leading supplier of disposable rubber gloves, said Thursday that orders from China have doubled their usual volume over the past few days as the deadly coronavirus outbreak widens.
Top Glove had forecast a 10% to 15% rise in rubber glove sales for the year ending August 2020, but "we are expecting more sales orders coming in depending on the severity of the outbreak and how long it will last," the company said when asked about the earnings impact of the virus.
Demand has surged in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, according to Top Glove.
Top Glove's share price has climbed more than 20% since the end of 2019. Malaysian rival Hartalega Holdings also has gained in the stock market.
"Having been in the industry for nearly 30 years, we have experienced several such spikes in demand during outbreaks" such as the H1N1 influenza in 2009-10 and SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, in 2002-03.
Top Glove plans to expand annual capacity to 91.4 billion units by the end of 2021, up roughly 30% from the current 70.5 billion.
Though Asia outside of Japan accounts for only about 14% of overall sales, the company sees large room for growth in China due to improving sanitary practices.
North America, western Europe and Japan account for over half of Top Glove's rubber glove sales.