Sri Trang Gloves sets up S'pore office to increase focus on R&D, regional expansion

Sri Trang Gloves CEO Jarinya Jirojkul said global demand for latex and nitrile gloves has risen very rapidly. PHOTO: SRI TRANG GLOVES THAILAND

SINGAPORE - Sri Trang Gloves Thailand (STGT), one of the world's top rubber glove makers, said it has opened an office in Singapore to help with plans to boost its production capacity and increase focus on research and innovation.

Its Singapore subsidiary - Sri Trang Gloves Singapore - will oversee the distribution of latex gloves to international markets and have direct oversight of the group's research and development, as well as product innovation, STGT said in a statement on Monday (Aug 30).

The new office will push forward its ambitions for regional expansion, aimed at increased marketing activities, sales and production capacities in the Asean region, with plans to set up branch offices in Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines.

STGT chief executive Jarinya Jirojkul said global demand for latex and nitrile gloves has been rising rapidly during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the trend is expected to continue in the years ahead.

To meet the growing demand, she said the company plans to increase STGT's production capacity by more than 186 per cent over the next five years, scaling up its glove production from about 35 billion pieces per year presently to more than 100 billion pieces a year by 2026.

Global demand for gloves is expected to reach 500 billion this year, well ahead of the estimated supply of 420 billion pieces, according to estimates by the Malaysian Rubber Gloves Manufacturers Association.

Even as glove makers rush to close the gap, the supply shortage could persist until 2023 in view of the ongoing pandemic, said the association.

Ms Jarinya said in June that STGT had set aside 44 billion baht (S$1.8 billion) to raise its production and improve efficiency, and expects the company's annual glove production capacity to rise to 50 billion pieces next year.

In the statement on Monday, the CEO said STGT, which also has a presence in the United States and China, sees the Asean region as a high-growth market.

"Over the longer term, Asean presents significant potential as its growth rate still lags consumption rates of European countries," said Ms Jarinya.

STGT has a primary listing on the Stock Exchange of Thailand and is secondary-listed on the Singapore Exchange. Its subsidiary Sri Trang Agro is the world's biggest rubber producer by capacity.

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