Malaysia’s rubber glove makers, made richer by Covid, lost more than RM25b as pandemic abates

·4-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 — Malaysia’s rubber glove makers who were listed among the country’s top 50 richest on Forbes magazine's 2022 list released today, saw their wealth decline from last year as ebbing Covid-19 concerns cut the global demand for personal protective gear and knocked down shares of their companies.

The wealth of Kuan Kam Hon of Hartalega Holdings (RM8.3 billion), 11th in the Malaysian edition of the Forbes Top 50 list, while Top Glove’s Tan Sri Lim Wee Chai (RM6.16 billion), 14th, fell the most in US dollar terms, Forbes said in a statement.

Husband-and-wife duo Datuk Seri Stanley Thai and Datin Seri Cheryl Tan of Supermax, 45th on the list, saw the biggest percentage drop in their wealth, which shrank by more than two-thirds to $340 million (RM1.4 billion).

The collective wealth of this group of the five, which includes Kossan Rubber Industries’ Lim Kuang Sia (RM3.25 billion), 24th on the list, and Wong Teek Son of Riverstone Holdings (RM2.48 billion), 30th in the list, declined by more than RM25 billion.

Newcomers and returnees on Forbes

Meanwhile, owner of dairy producer Farm Fresh Loi Tuan Ee who shares a RM1.67 billion fortune with his two siblings made it to the list for the first time following the March listing of the company, Forbes noted.

“The company, which Loi and his brother Tuan Kin started in 2007 and which went on to get the backing of Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional, has five dairy farms in Malaysia and one in Australia,” the business magazine said.

The minimum net worth to make the list was RM1.12 billion, down from RM1.38 billion in 2021.

The fortune shared by US-educated brothers Lee Oi Hian and Hau Hian (RM7.0 billion), now 12th in the list, were also boosted by more than a third as shares of their company Batu Kawan and its plantation subsidiary soared on rising profits.

Indonesia’s temporary ban on edible oil exports amid a drop in Malaysia’s palm oil production resulted in windfall gains for tycoons in that sector, Forbes said.

Tan Sri Ling Chiong Ho (RM1.86 billion) is also one of two returnees this year to make a comeback on the back of soaring palm oil prices after a four-year gap as shares of Sarawak Oil Palm, the flagship of his Shin Yang group, rallied. He is now 36th in the list.

Still, the combined wealth of tycoons on the 2022 Forbes list of Malaysia’s 50 richest fell 10 per cent from a year ago to US$80.5 billion (some RM354 billion), with 30 on the list having their wealth decline.

Buoyed partly by a recovery in domestic demand, Malaysia’s economy grew 5 per cent in the first quarter of 2022, overcoming pandemic pains as well as the impact of the nationwide flash floods last December.

While the stock market dipped slightly in the past 12 months, currency fluctuations saw the ringgit drop 6 per cent.

Kuok group’s legendary founder Robert Kuok, while holding on to his long-standing first spot, saw his fortune drop to RM48.3 billion from RM53.6 billion last year.

But second in line Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan, chairman of Hong Leong Company (Malaysia), became the biggest gainer in dollar terms and consolidated his position as Malaysia’s second richest person with RM44.4 billion. He added RM2.19b million to his net worth of RM42.2 billion last year.

Tan Sri Koon Poh Keong and his siblings, who control aluminium giant Press Metal, remained in third position with RM27.2 billion, nearly flat from a year ago.

This list was compiled using shareholding and financial information obtained from the families and individuals, stock exchanges, annual reports and analysts. The ranking lists both individual and family fortunes, including those shared among relatives.

Private companies were valued based on similar companies that are publicly traded. Net worths were based on stock prices and exchange rates as of the close of markets on May 20, 2022.

The full list of Malaysia's richest in 2022, according to Forbes, can be found here.

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