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Phnom Penh Autonomous Port pushes for IPO

Phnom Penh Autonomous Port pushes for IPO

A screen shows Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (R) speaking during a launching ceremony at the Cambodian Securities Exchange (CSX) in Phnom Penh. Now the government is pushing for state-owned firms to list on the CSX. Photograph: AFP PHOTO/Tang Chhin Sothy

Following a government push for Cambodia’s largest state-owned firms to list on the Cambodia Securities Exchange, Phnom Penh Autonomous Port (PPAP) said yesterday that it plans to float on the newly launched bourse.

The port would join Telecom Cambodia and Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, both of which are targeting initial public offerings but have yet to announce official dates. Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority listed in April after months of delays and is still the only publicly traded firm in the country.

Several private companies have also expressed interest in listing during the past three months. Foreign Trade Bank of Cambodia, Bonna Realty, as well as two foreign-owned garment manufacturers, are known to be in the process of preparing for a float.

PPAP’s plans would largely seek to patch shortfalls in funding, Eang Veng Sun, the port’s commercial director, said yesterday.

“We hope that when we are on the bourse, we can collect more capital for our investment. Now we are facing a shortage of money on our projects in two other ports,” he said.

He added that the plans had been nudged along by the government.

The timeframe for the IPO, however, was sketchy at best yesterday, with Eang Veng Sun saying the company would go public any time between the end of 2013 and 2015.

Cambodia’s state-owned enterprises have struggled to nail down dates. Sihanoukville Autonomous Port will miss the originally announced July deadline for listing. Telecom Cambodia’s float will be held until the beginning of next year, insiders have said.

The CSX launched a year ago but stood dormant for nine months while PPWSA put its books in order.

PriceWaterHouseCooper will act as an independent auditor for the port, Eang Veng Sun said. The firm was in underwriting talks with Tong Yang Securities, the South Korean company that underwrote PPWSA, but a deal had yet to be reached.

PPWSA shares have flattened out at the company’s initial offering price, trading at or slightly above US$1.54 for the past 20 days of trading.

The company closed at that price yesterday with 11,868 shares traded. The low volume of trading has become typical during the past month.

Last week, the company fell to slightly below the initial price for the first time.

Experts have said the stock was over-subscribed and the price of the company climbed too quickly after its opening day. Additional IPOs could help jump-start interest in trading, some officials at securities firms have maintained.

Svay Hay, director of Acleda Securities, said that continued company interest in the CSX will give positive signals to the market as a whole.

“It is a good trend because if we have more issuers, there will be more options for both local and foreign investors,” he said.

PPAP has not announced the amount of money it will seek to raise with the IPO, but according to the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia, state-owned firms can issue shares worth a maximum of 20 per cent of total asset.

PPAP is building a new port in Kandal province on a $68 million loan from China.

Feasibility studies on two other ports are ongoing. Throughput at the port increased by 10.5 per cent in the first five months of the year.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at [email protected]


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