KUALA LUMPUR: Hartalega Holdings Bhd, Malaysia's second-biggest maker of rubber gloves, said it plans to spend 7 billion ringgit ($1.7 billion) to build 16 new manufacturing facilities over the next 20 years.

The coronavirus pandemic has led to soaring demand and a jump in prices for medical and other types of rubber and synthetic gloves worldwide.

Hartalega, which currently has 12 plants, aims to increase annual production capacity to 95 billion gloves by 2027 from 43 billion now, it said in a statement.

By comparison, domestic rival Top Glove Corp, the world's biggest maker of medical gloves, manufactures 93 billion gloves annually. This week Top Glove reported a fourth consecutive quarter of record profit, noting profit achieved for the first half of the current financial year exceeded its total profit for the past 20 years.

As part of its expansion plans, Hartalega said a subsidiary has agreed to buy 250 acres of land from a company owned by the Ministry of Finance for 228.7 million ringgit.

The deal includes an option to purchase another 130 acres of land in the same location in Kedah, a state in northwest Malaysia. All planned 16 plants would be located in the area.