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KUALA LUMPUR: Hartalega Holdings Bhd, the world’s largest nitrile glove manufacturer, posted a 3.8 per cent increase in net profit to RM456.2 million in the year ended March 31 2019.

At pre-tax level, the profit grew 4.8 per cent to RM551.9 million on the back of a 17.6 per cent jump in revenue to RM2.8 billion.

For its fourth quarter, the group recorded a lower net profit of RM91.4 million compared with RM116.9 million a year ago,

Its pre-tax profit for the quarter came in at RM113.7 million, while revenue rose to RM683.9 million.

Hartalega declared a third interim dividend of 1.9 sen per share single tier for the year, payable on June 27.

Managing director Kuan Mun Leong said Hartalega’s results for the fourth quarter were within expectations, particularly given the sharp strengthening of the ringgit in a short time frame.

Higher costs for labour and electricity as well as lower gain from foreign exchange also affected its bottom line.

“Despite this, the group achieved a strong financial year, driven by improved sales volume in tandem with growing demand for nitrile gloves and our continuous expansion in production capacity via our Next Generation Integrated Glove Manufacturing Complex (NGC),” Kuan added.

Looking ahead, Kuan said Hartalega had put in place sustainable long-term growth plans as it movef forward with its capacity expansion plans for the NGC.

The company had commissioned 10 out of 12 production lines for Plant 5, with the remaining lines to come on-stream progressively.

Construction of Plant 6 has also commenced, to be followed by the supporting facilities in the second half of 2019.

“Furthermore, our world-first innovation, the antimicrobial glove, continues to see growing market acceptance. We are optimistic this will contribute positively to the group’s earnings in the coming years,” Kuan said.

“While commissioning of new capacity within the sector is ongoing, we believe that this will gradually be taken up as industry participants regulate expansion and global demand for rubber gloves continues to grow,” he added.

Kuan said Hartalega had embarked on various cost optimisation measures and automation initiatives to mitigate potential margin pressure.

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