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The World's Largest Condom Maker Goes Long

The production line at the Karex Industries condom factory in Pontian Besar, Johor state, Malaysia
The production line at the Karex Industries condom factory in Pontian Besar, Johor state, MalaysiaPhotograph by Goh Seng Chong/Bloomberg

The world’s largest condom maker had a heck of a first day on the stock market. Shares of Karex Industriesahem—rose by almost one-third on the Malaysian stock exchange in the company’s public debut on Wednesday.

Make no mistake, it’s not just getting lucky. Can you think of a more recession-proof business? There are consumer staples and then there are consumer staples. Thanks to population growth and the immortal recordings of Barry White, global condom sales have increased at a steady 7 percent rate for years. An AIDS vaccine would be one of the few threats to Karex’s business, according to the company’s prospectus.