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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ACLEDA shifts into first place

ACLEDA shifts into first place

An ACLEDA Bank branch near Olympic Stadium yesterday.

ACLEDA has overtaken Cambodian Public to become Cambodia’s largest bank in terms of total assets, according to statistics from the National Bank of Cambodia.

Already Cambodia’s largest bank by number of branches, ACLEDA also outpaced its competitors in net profits and total deposits in 2010, the NBC’s Supervision Report 2010 shows.

The bank’s growth was the result of long-term investment in infrastructure, including an extensive network of branches and additional employees, and an overall recovery from the global financial crisis of 2009, ACLEDA vice- chairman John Brinsden said.

“The results are now coming through, so I don’t think it should be any surprise,” Brinsden said yesterday, although he noted he had not yet seen the NBC’s report.

“It’s nothing we feel we should shout about. It’s the way things should be if you manage yourself well.”

ACLEDA finished 2010 with US$1.2 billion in total assets – an 18 percent share of the domestic banking market – up from $949.8 million in 2009.

The company's net profits more than doubled year-on-year to $27 million from $10.3 million in 2009. At the same time, total deposits jumped 28 percent to $901.7 million.

Brinsden said, however it was likely  the figures for 2011 would not increase as quickly.

“You can’t maintain such rapid growth when you’re at the top,” he said.

ACLEDA’s strategy would be twofold, Brinsden said. First, the former micro-finance  institut-ion turned full-service commercial bank would try to expand its loan portfolio – especially in the agriculture sector while striving to keep its non-performing loan ratio down.

The bank’s NPL ratio last year was 0.4 percent, but Brinsden said that should be “slightly better by the end of this year”. The focus for ACLEDA would be on the quality of the entire loan portfolio over a longer three-year period, he said.

Brinsden also said the company would seek to keep costs down in relation to total revenues. He admitted costs had been high over the past two years as ACLEDA built out its infrastructure, but he now expected a return on those investments.

ACLEDA was not alone among banks showing strong growth in 2010.

Among the other banks listed in the NBC’s report, Canadia Bank’s 39-percent growth in total assets year-over-year pushed the company into the number two spot with $1.1 billion.

However, it lost its number one ranking in net profits, which dropped to $17.3 million in 2010 from $24.4 million in 2009. Canadia also saw its NPLs climb to $35 million from $18.8 million, or to 6.5 percent of total loans.

Cambodia Public Bank grew its total assets 4 percent in 2010 to $1 billion, though the bank did collect a higher net profit for the year. Representatives from both Canadia and Campu Bank could not be reached for comment.

The NBC’s figures also showed ANZ Royal turned the fourth-largest profit among Cambodia’s 29 commercial banks last year. It lost $416,000 in 2009, but rebounded in 2010 to earn a profit of $10.7 million.

“Last year we had pretty good revenue growth, and good expense discipline, which drove the significant turnaround in performance,” ANZ Royal chief executive Stephen Higgins said.



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