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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Leopard Capital tops up investments, targets Laos

Leopard Capital tops up investments, targets Laos

LEOPARD Capital has topped up its investments in three Cambodian projects as well as secured shares in a company set to list in Laos, the fund’s Chief Executive Officer Douglas Clayton said yesterday.

The US$34 million fund has increased investment in Kingdom Breweries, Nautisco Seafood Manufacturing, and ASA Plc – a holding company with 19 percent ownership of ACLEDA Bank, according to a release.

“We see them all as good investments,” said CEO Douglas Clayton. The three investments had originally been smaller than the average size for Leopard’s portfolio, he said, and the fund taken the opportunity to increase its stakes.

Kingdom Breweries Chief Executive Officer Peter Brongers said the new capital was marked to cover additional costs.

The firm had originally intended to launch in May or June, but its boutique beer began sales in October, a move which had incurred additional costs.

The brewer had added new fermentation tanks and an improved filtration system, which had cost several hundred thousand dollars a piece, he said.

“It’s always better to a have a [financial] cushion,” he said yesterday.

ACLEDA Securities President and Managing Director Svay Hay said Leopard had increased its stake in ASA by 2.58 percent, and now controls 10.30 percent of the holding company.

“Leopard is a leading private equity fund with various experiences, and [brings] value added,” he wrote yesterday.

ASA was a form of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan that also allowed a certain degree of outside investment, he said. It was established in 2000, and launched an internal stock market in 2006. Another unnamed South Korean fund had also invested in ASA, he said.

Sihanoukville-based Nautisco Seafood Manufacturing representatives declined to comment yesterday, but Leopard said in the release that its investment would provide secured debt and purchase additional common shares, increasing its stake in the project from 31 percent to 38 percent.

Clayton declined to reveal the dollar amounts of the three investments.

Meanwhile, Leopard also announced it had purchased 5,000,000 shares, or 2.32 percent, of the initial public offering of state-owned Electricite du Laos Generation Company - one of the first two companies to list on the Laos Stock Exchange today. EDL had made 25 percent of its shares available for the IPO.

“It’s a good opportunity to participate in the hydropower sector in Laos, and we’re pleased that the Laos exchange has launched,” said Clayton.

He added that Leopard was keeping the door open for investment in firms listing on the Cambodian bourse, which is set to launch by July.

“If there’s a good bottom-up opportunity, we’re certainly open to exploring [the opportunity],” he said.

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