While many businesses have taken a huge financial hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact, here in Malaysia, it has raised two individuals to the status of billionaires
According to a recent report by Bloomberg, Thai Kim Sim of Supermax Corp and Lim Kuang Sia of Kossan Rubber are two new billionaires in dollar terms in the country.
Both individuals are founders of their respective glove companies, whose shares ballooned following the increase of global demand for gloves amidst the pandemic.
Thai's net worth saw the most significant growth within a short period of time. His net worth reportedly increased by roughly 370% to USD1 billion (RM4.2 billion).
As for Lim, the pandemic has boosted his net worth by about 100% and he is currently worth USD1.1 billion (RM4.7 billion).
Thai's rapid ascent in wealth is worth noting, especially when his net worth stood at RM672.62 million at the end of 2019
CGS-CIMB Research analyst Walter Aw contributed Supermax Corp's expeditious growth to the company's direction to manufacture gloves in its own brand, which allows the company to sell its products at higher prices directly to end-customers.
Thai founded Supermax with his wife in 1987. It started out as a business that traded latex gloves before venturing into manufacturing in 1989.
The company decided to set up its own glove label after the Malaysian government urged local glove companies to start developing their own brands instead of being a mere supplier.
Bloomberg reported that Thai and his direct family members hold a 38% stake in the company.
According to its website, it is learned that Supermax produces over 24 billion pieces of gloves annually, meeting 12% of global demand. It currently exports to 160 countries.
In late March, the company donated one million pairs of gloves to Malaysian frontliners, as well as three million pairs of gloves to frontliners in Wuhan, China, reported New Straits Times.
Meanwhile, Lim's Kossan Rubber also underwent substantial growth in 2020
The company has seen its stock double this year. According to The Star, some RM2.91 billion was added to Lim's personal net worth within this period.
In another Bloomberg report on 8 May, Lim was valued at USD800 million (RM3.4 billion). A month later, the company's continuous growth has made him a new billionaire in dollar terms.
Lim owns a 50% stake in the company, which he founded in 1979. The glove manufacturer was established during a time when demand for gloves surged due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Kossan Rubber's website boasted that it has zero loss-making record since its inception and is currently exporting gloves to 130 countries.
Malaysia is widely known as the world's largest rubber glove supplier
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the global demand for rubber gloves to increase by 11% to 330 billion pieces this year. It is estimated that 65% of the gloves are manufactured in Malaysia.
Other than Thai's Supermax Corp and Lim's Kossan Rubber, the country also has two other giant glove manufacturers, namely Top Glove Corp and Hartalega Holdings Berhad.
All four companies have benefited from the pandemic. Top Glove's founder Lim Wee Chai saw his net worth increase to USD2.5 billion (RM10.6 billion), while Hartalega's founder Kuan Kam Hon and his family members to USD4.8 billion (RM20.5 billion).
CGS-CIMB's Aw expects the glove industry will continue to boom even after the slowdown of the global health crisis.