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    HARTA   MYL5168OO009

HARTALEGA HOLDINGS BERHAD

(HARTA)
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U.S. lifts import ban on Malaysia's Top Glove over forced labour concerns

09/10/2021 | 08:11am EST
FILE PHOTO: A worker leaves a Top Glove factory after his shift in Klang, Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - The United States on Friday allowed imports from Malaysia's Top Glove Corp, after customs authorities lifted a year-long ban imposed for alleged forced labour https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/us-seizes-shipment-malaysias-top-glove-over-forced-labour-concerns-2021-05-13 found at the world's largest medical glove maker.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had banned gloves made by Top Glove in July 2020, saying it had found abuses of migrant workers.

In a statement, the CBP said it will now allow imports after a thorough review of evidence that showed Top Glove has addressed all indicators of forced labour.

Top Glove had said earlier its disposable gloves would be admissible at all U.S. ports as of Sept. 10.

Its shares, which have plunged about 40% since the ban, jumped as much as 10% on Friday.

Top Glove has taken a hit to reputation and business from the ban, which came at a time when it was making record profits as the COVID-19 pandemic boosted demand for its gloves.

Its glove production in Malaysia has dropped and a plan for a $1 billion Hong Kong listing has been delayed https://www.reuters.com/article/us-top-glove-listing-hong-kong-idCAKCN2DD2AX since the ban.

The North American market accounts for 22% of Top Glove's total sales volume, according to most recent data.

IMPROVEMENTS AT TOP GLOVE

The CBP had prohibited imports of Top Glove products citing evidence of forced labour practices at the company, including debt bondage, excessive overtime, abusive working and living conditions, and retention of identity documents.

While Top Glove said in April it had resolved all forced labour indicators, U.S. Customs had two of the company's shipments seized in May https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/us-seizes-shipment-malaysias-top-glove-over-forced-labour-concerns-2021-05-13/#:~:text=KUALA%20LUMPUR%2C%20May%2013%20(Reuters,labour%20allegations%2C%20U.S.%20customs%20said.

Rights activist Andy Hall, who had urged the CBP to investigate Top Glove, said he welcomed the decision to lift the ban "in light of the considerable improvements in foreign workers living and working conditions" at Top Glove.

Top Glove has upgraded hostel facilities for its migrant workers, who account for a majority of its factory workforce, and promised to compensate them for the fee they paid to employment agents in their home countries.

The fees result in debt bondage, labour activists say.

Rivals Hartalega Holdings and Kossan Rubber have also since said they would pay back the fees.

Two other Malaysian firms have also been hit with U.S. bans in the last year - Sime Darby Plantation and FGV Holdings. The palm oil producers have both appointed auditors to evaluate their practices and said they would engage with CBP to address the concerns raised.

(Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi and Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Tom Hogue and Himani Sarkar)

By A. Ananthalakshmi and Rozanna Latiff


ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
HARTALEGA HOLDINGS BERHAD -2.61% 5.59 End-of-day quote.-53.95%
KOSSAN RUBBER INDUSTRIES BHD 0.00% 1.91 End-of-day quote.-57.56%
TOP GLOVE CORPORATION BHD. -2.40% 2.44 End-of-day quote.-60.13%
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Financials
Sales 2022 8 451 M 2 007 M 2 007 M
Net income 2022 3 566 M 847 M 847 M
Net cash 2022 3 067 M 729 M 729 M
P/E ratio 2022 5,29x
Yield 2022 10,8%
Capitalization 19 104 M 4 525 M 4 538 M
EV / Sales 2022 1,90x
EV / Sales 2023 3,27x
Nbr of Employees 8 548
Free-Float 36,6%
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Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 20
Last Close Price 5,59 MYR
Average target price 6,35 MYR
Spread / Average Target 13,6%
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Managers and Directors
Mun Leong Kuan Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director
Kean Wooi Loh Chief Financial Officer
Kam Hon Kuan Executive Chairman
Wah Choon Leang General Manager-Information Technology
Mei Ling Cheah Deputy General Manager-Research & Development