As condom sales slump, world's biggest producer starts making gloves

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Illustration. Photo by Getty Images
Illustration. Photo by Getty Images

The world’s largest maker of condoms hasn’t been spared from the coronavirus pandemic as the use of its products slumped as much as 40% in the last two years.

Sexual activity using the contraceptive didn’t increase even as people stayed home amid lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus, Nikkei Asia reported, citing Karex Bhd.’s Chief Executive Officer Goh Miah Kiat.

The closure of hotels and non-essential clinics such as sexual wellness centers during the pandemic, along with various governments suspending condom handout programs, contributed to the decline in Karex’s condoms sales, Goh said, according to the report.

The Malaysia-based company, which makes one out of every five condoms worldwide, is now moving into the booming medical glove-making business and plans to kickoff production in Thailand by mid year, Goh said in the report.

Karex had previously forecast condom demand to grow at “double digits” as governments around the world imposed lockdowns, forcing people to stay at home. Karex produces for brands like Durex, as well as its own line of specialty condoms such as Durian-flavored ones. It churns out more than 5 billion condoms a year and exports them to more than 140 countries.

Karex’s shares have dropped about 18% over the past two years, during which Malaysia’s benchmark stock index has lost 3.1%.

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