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Bank's golden opportunity

Sacombank opens a gold-trading subsidiary in Phnom Penh

SACOMBANK’S gold- and gem-trading subsidiary Sacombank Jewelry Company (SBJ) opened its first office in Cambodia Thursday on the back of record global gold prices.

The company launched SBJ (Cambodia) with US$3 million funding from its parent firm after a “detailed” study of Cambodia’s market potential, officials told reporters at a press gathering in the Phnom Penh Hotel on Thursday.

The company plans to buy gold from vendors in Cambodia, then refine it to a higher quality for resale.

“We’ve invested $3 million directly from the parent bank in Vietnam to trade pure gold in Cambodian market in order to cut down the current poor-quality gold being traded by local vendors – that is our first objective,” SBJ Vietnam Chairman To Thanh Hoang said.

“Our second [objective] is that we want this market to trade pure gold made by our company, which we refine with a high-tech refinery system which comes from Australia and Germany,” he said.

The technology can refine gold to 99.9 percent purity and costs $1.5 million per unit, he added.

Sacombank Group chairman Dang Van Tanh said that Cambodia is ripe for expansion, based on research the group had undertaken for the past year.

“Before we decided to open SBJ in Cambodia, we conducted detailed research and set our strategy for the business in Cambodia.
“Although Cambodia has a small population, in the future the jewellery business will be very popular,” he said.

Director-elect of SBJ (Cambodia) Pham Anh Thai said while he could not predict how sales in Cambodia would pan out, the firm’s Vietnam business – which has been trading since March 2008 – had sold an average 10 tonnes of pure gold per year.

“I have no defined targets for this market,” he said.

Tal Nai Im, director general of National Bank of Cambodia, told the Post by phone Thursday that the new gold business would contribute to the economy’s growth.

“We welcome any kind of foreign investment to support our economic growth,” she said.

Dang Van Tanh said the group was also preparing to open a local stockbroking firm if the Cambodia stock exchange goes ahead, as planned, at the end of this year.

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