PETALING JAYA: Iconic Worldwide Bhd’s wholly owned subsidiary Iconic Medicare Sdn Bhd has completed its new RM200 million personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturing facility for gloves and medical face masks in Batu Kawan, Penang and obtained the Certificate of Completion and Compliance on Tuesday.
Located on a parcel of land measuring 5.5 acres in Batu Kawan Industrial Park, the facility is installing and commissioning glove and disposable medical face mask production lines, which are expected to yield a minimum production capacity of 3.3 billion pieces of gloves and 220 million pieces of medical face masks per annum.
At the initial stage, the group has started running four double former glove dipping lines and plans to increase to six by end of the year. By the first quarter of 2022, a total of 12 double former glove dipping lines and 20 medical face mask production lines would be installed and commissioned.
On the prospects of the business, managing director Datuk Tan Kean Tet expects the demand for PPE to be sustainable even after the Covid-19 pandemic due to the new norm and public awareness of the need for self-protection and hygienic practices.
“Although the average selling price of gloves has been dropping, raw material prices have also dropped about 70% so we are confident of maintaining the bottom net figures. Furthermore, the group will be exploring the possibility of producing nitrile butadiene rubber (NBR) in Malaysia to address the market demand for the raw material.”
He explained that currently countries such as Korea, Japan, Thailand and China are the main producers of NBR, whereas Malaysia is the largest consumer and importer globally by consuming 65% of the world’s supply of NBR. By producing it locally, glove makers will be able to ensure a consistent supply of the raw material in addition to reducing production and logistics costs.
“The group has full confidence to move forward and expand even further. Iconic Medicare has diversified its medical face masks product range by producing new types of protective masks such as KF99 and KN99 respirators. These come with a 3D mask structure for better fit and double melt blown protection which improves the overall filtration performance.
“For gloves, we will be targeting mainly the export market. The demand in Malaysia is not high, so we are looking towards Europe & US as principal markets. We have already obtained the CE, FDA and ISO certifications for our medical face masks and nitrile gloves, all of which will enable the company to export its products overseas. For masks, we are currently focusing on the local market but we are also exporting our products to overseas markets for better sustainability of the business,” he added.
Medical face masks production is expected to contribute more significantly to the group in this financial year, whereas gloves production is only expected to contribute by the end of FY2022. The group foresees the demand for gloves to sustain post-pandemic.