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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Japanese firm plans Cambodian fund for later this year

Japanese firm plans Cambodian fund for later this year

Japanese fund manager Asset Design plans to launch a Cambodian equities fund in late 2011.

The fund would target large returns after the Kingdom opened its stock exchange this month, an Asset Design executive said yesterday.    

Asset Design expected the scale of the fund to eventually grow to about 1 billion yen (US$12 million) and planned to run the fund for about 10 years, Asset Design director  Max Takahashi said.

The initial size of the fund would be 400 to 500 million yen around the time of its launch, expected in November, Takahashi said.    

The Cambodian fund would be aimed at luring Japanese investors who were seeking higher yields and were looking to invest beyond recently popular investment destinat-ions such as China, he said.    

“Many have already invested in India, China and Vietnam. We wanted to be unique, so we selected Cambodia after conducting research for two years,” said Takahashi, who will manage the fund.    

Takahashi, who previously worked for companies including Sumitomo Trust and Banking, said he had visited Cambodia more than 20 times since 2009.    

The asset company anticipates big economic growth in the Kingdom, and its exchange will follow the launch of other bourses in the region, such as in Vietnam.

Asset Design, an equities- focused hedge fund founded in 2002, has been seeking to diversify its portfolios in emerging markets.    

It has 7.6 billion yen (US$94 million) in assets under management. Of this total, it runs two Japanese equities funds totalling 2.5 billion yen.

The rest involves advisory services to pension funds and institutional investors.

Asset Design aimed to market the Cambodian fund to  high-net-worth individuals in Japan, Takahashi said.

It planned to seek subscriptions from later this month until mid-September and  intended to hold investor seminars in August and September, Takahashi said.

The Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) is scheduled to open on July 11, but there will be no companies listed on the exchange at the time of  its launch.

Trading on the exchange has been delayed again until the end of the year because companies planning listings needed more time to comply with regulations.

Asset Design hoped to double or triple its returns from the Cambodian fund shortly after the launch of the stock exchange, Takahashi said.

“We've seen in Vietnam and Laos that share prices surged in those markets shortly after the launch,” he said.

“I expect the same to happen in Cambodia.

“We want to invest a big chunk in the IPOs of these companies. We'll seek big capital gains shortly after trading begins in Cambodia.”

The state-owned Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA), Telecom Cambodia and the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port have been tapped to list on the exchange.

Officials, however, have said those companies will not be ready to list until later in 2011.




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