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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - A look back on the year 2012

A look back on the year 2012

130101 09
Toll employees speak at Phnom Penh Railway station last week. Developments with Cambodia’s railway made headlines numerous times in 2012. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

From mergers, FDI and openings – the Post’s business desk revisits the  business highlights of the year 2012.

January

Sea Festival a success
Sihanoukville celebrated the New Year with its first Sea Festival, in an attempt to grow the Kingdom’s tourism appeal beyond Siem Reap.

Oil production delayed
The Kingdom’s much-hyped deadline of tapping its first oil reserves by December 12, 2012, will not be met, a government spokesman said. Chevron Overseas Petroleum (Cambodia) Ltd, which is exploring the Kingdom’s offshore Block A in the Gulf of Thailand, notified the Cambodian government that no oil extraction would take place this year

February

OZ sells assets in Cambodia
OZ minerals announced it would sell its Cambodian gold assets to fellow Australian miner Renaissance Minerals for US$19.2 million. The deal comes in the wake of a tumultuous 2011 for OZ, in which exploration yields proved disappointing.

March

PRASAC to become commercial bank
PRASAC, Cambodia’s largest microfinance institution by outstanding loans, said it planned to become a licensed commercial bank in the Kingdom by 2014.

Toll Group alleged to be leaving rail project
Toll Group informed the Cambodian government that it would suspend all railway operations and lay off half of its Cambodian staff at the end of the month, according to a source familiar with the situation.

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April

First initial public offering
Investors watched carefully the action on the country’s first initial public offering at the Cambodia Securities Exchange, nine months after the CSX officially opened. PPWSA was valued at 6,300 riel, or US$1.57, a share in late March, and 514 investors bought 474,143 shares during book-building.

May

Life insurance  opens doors
The Kingdom’s first life insurance company, Cambodian Life, officially launched. The Ministry of Economy and Finance signed agreements in August with PT Asuransi Central Asia, Asian Insurance Co ltd, Bangkok Life Assurance Plc and Bangkok Insurance Co ltd to provide the services.

Electronics Factory to open
A US$37.9 million base plate factory was announced to be launched the mext month in the northwestern province of Banteay Meanchey by Japanese electronics manufacturer SC WADO Component Co.

June

No ETA for Siem Reap’s $ 1bn airport
No ground was broken in May on New Siem Reap INternatinoal Airport (NSRIA), a US$1 million Korean investment, and officials say no definite date has been set for work on the projects as developer looks for new partners.

China to Fund Cambodia rail
Cambodia was in discussion with the Chinese government on funding for a 250-kilometre stretch of rail line between Phnom Penh and Vietnam, in what Cambodian officials called a move away from a “complicated” ASEAN Development Bank loan.

July

Chevon aims for 2016
Oil production in Cambodia may not begin until 2016, or at least three years after the originally appointed date, Chevron officials reportedly said. The Cambodia National Petroleum Authority said 2016 was a realistic year for oil extraction.

UK plans to invest in Cambodia’s insurance industry
Prudential plc, a financial-services company from the United Kingdom, planned to invest US$7 million in Cambodia’s insurance industry, British Ambassador Mark Gooding said. Prudential will open an office in the Kingdom but the ambassador could not confirm the services to be offered, or a time frame of the launch.

August

China firm proposes $6.5bn deal
Chinese firms have huge ambitions for Cambodia, with a second firm in August proposing three projects worth an estimated US$6.5 billion to the National Assembly, but no deadlines were set for the implementation of the projects, according to officials.

$850 million backing for Cambodia’s railways
A company with ties to one of China’s top state-owned firms announced it would look to push Toll Royal Railways and its local partner Royal Group of Companies out of a 30-year railroad concession with its pledge to invest nearly US$850 million to revamp existing lines and build an additional one.

Rice export MoU signed
Cambodia signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to export 100,000 tonnes of rice per year to Indonesia. Senior Cambodian officials hoped the MoU will be the impetus for attracting more investments from other ASEAN member states.

September

$70m from India for power
India said it is financing the construction of a US$70 million transmission line to bring electricity from hydroelectric projects in Laos to Cambodia, according to Indian Chamber of Commerce President Debasish Pattnaik.

Investment treaty with US discussed
The United States and Cambodia agreed to begin discussions on a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) in a bid to spur trade and investment between the two countries, officials said following the end of the ASEAN-US Business Summit in Siem Reap.

Soft loan from Sweden
Sweden loaned Cambodia US$57 million for economic country development and cooperation for the duration of 2012-2013.

Cellcard’s COO Kay Lot resigns
One of Cambodia’s primary telecommunications companies, Cellcard, announced that longtime Chief Operating Officer Kay Lot resigned.The departure of Lot follows the departure of CEO David Spriggs who resigned his position about two months earlier.

Energy issues focus for ASEAN
Prime Minister Hun Sen opened the 30th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting in Phnom Penh, where ASEAN officials focussed on ASEAN green energy and worked on a plan for ASEAN’s power grid.

Digital TV service launches
Cambodia’s newly-established digital wireless TV service provider One TV becan broadcasting to the Kingdom on September15.  One TV is a venture between Russia’s General Satellite and Cambodia’s Royal Group, under the company Royal Media Entertainment Corporation Limited (RMEC), which provides digital satellite television services and covers 70 per cent of the country’s TV audience.

ASEAN integration unlikely by 2015
THE US ambassador to ASEAN David Cardin said the plan to have the 10-nation regional grouping economically integrated will not be complete by 2015, but said he is not worried about it.

A national car for Cambodia
UK-based BIW automotive company signed a US$2 billion join venture investment with ACICA Automotive (Cambodia) to build a factory in Preah Sihanouk province for a Cambodian-made vehicle within the next three years. The company aims to produce a low-cost car with the capacity of around 300,000 units per year for sale domestically, within ASEAN and globally.

Telecom Ministry launches regulator
The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications officially launched the Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia in an attempt to establish laws to control, and resolve conflicts among, telecoms operators.

October

IMF revises GDP projection for Cambodia upward to 7 per cent
The International Monetary Fund revised Cambodia’s economic growth projection to between 6.5 and 7 per cent, up from 6.2 per cent in April, saying the country could manage a sound macro-economy because of the growth in four main sectors: manufacturing, tourism, agriculture and construction.

Hun Sen announces new airport
Prime Minister Hun Sen requisitioned 768 hectares of land that will be used to build an international airport in Kampong Chhnang after 2025.

Maruhan Japan Bank buys stake in MFI
Maruhan Japan Bank became the first commercial bank in Cambodia to make a direct equity investment into a microfinance institution by becoming Sathapana’s majority shareholder, with a 95.1 per cent stake.

November

Leaders sign regional partnership agreement
The 10 leaders of ASEAN and six partner countries – China, Korea, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand – signed a joint declaration for the launch of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) during the 21st ASEAN Summit.

Thaicom to sell Mfone for $100
Troubled Cambodian telecoms operator Mfone was disposed of by its parent company, Thaicom, for $100 to INT Management Service Company Limited, according to a filing with the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

Airports of Thailand eyes Cambodia, Laos
Airports of Thailand (AOT) said it regards possible co-operation with Myanmar’s Airport Authority as a first step for engaging in airport operations and investment in Laos and Cambodia, the Bangkok Post reported AOT’s acting president, Somchai Sawas-deepon, as saying.

December

Mikasa’s Koh Kong factory sees it join Japanese influx
MIKASA Corporation, a Japanese sports goods manufacturing company, is to invest more than $5 million in building a ball production factory in Cambodia’s Koh Kong Special Economic Zone and plans to start construction early next year and to be completed by October 2013.

Hello-Smart merged
Malaysian-owned mobile phone company Hello Axiata Company announced a merger deal worth  about $155 million with Latelz Company Limited, which operates in Cambodia under the Smart Mobile brand. The merger is to be finalised, at the latest, by the end of first-quarter 2013 and on completion, Axiata will hold a 90 per cent stake in the combined entity.

NBC launches a National Clearing System
The National Bank of Cambodia officially launched the National Clearing System in an effort to build efficiency and to expand clearing and settlement services for inter-bank transfers.

Car parts supplier Yazaki Corporation of Japan to launch
Car parts supplier Yazaki Corporation of Japan said it plans to officially launch its automotive electronics and instruments plant on December 17 in Cambodia’s Koh Kong Special Economic Zone.

Two new ports for Cambodia
Phnom Penh Autonomous Port will officially launch two new ports in January next year. A PPAP official said that the opening of the new port is in response to the rise of cargo import-export.

Regional single visa launched
Cambodia and Thailand launched their single visa to facilitate a flow in tourists and enable easier traveling between the two countries. Tourists from 35 countries will enter both countries with single visa.

New oil refinery joint venture
Locally-owed Cambodian Petrochemical Company (CPC) formed a joint-venture with Chinese Sinomach China Perfect Machinery Industry Corp to invest US$ 2.3 billion to start the construction of the first oil refinery plant in Cambodia. The construction is expected to be finished by the end of 2015.  

Cambodia’s southern railway launched
The first stretch of railway from Phnom Penh to Preah Sihanouk province started temporary operations. It will boost trade activity in the region and attract trade transportation activities, officials said.

 

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