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Sleepy bourse cajoles firms to speed up listing plans

People walk past the entrance of Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone in 2013.
People walk past the entrance of Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone in 2013. Heng Chivoan

Sleepy bourse cajoles firms to speed up listing plans

Trading activity on Cambodia’s stock exchange has doubled since the listing of the capital’s port operator in December, but efforts to lure more companies to list on the sleepy bourse have proven difficult, an exchange official said.

Hong Sok Hour, chief executive of the Cambodian Securities Exchange (CSX), said prior to the listing of Phnom Penh Autonomous Port (PPAP) on the exchange on December 9, about 5,000 shares were traded each day. Since then, around 10,000 shares have traded daily.

Despite the increased activity, he said many companies and investors lack confidence and are afraid to join the stock market, which has proven a challenge.

“Mostly, they thought the stock market was a kind of game in which they are afraid to lose,” he said. “In reality, it is not a game at all – it is a kind of investment where the investor can gain or lose depending on the stock they buy and whether that company is profitable or makes losses due to its business plan.”

Just three companies – water utility Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority, Taiwanese garment manufacturer Grand Twins International and PPAP – have listed on Cambodia’s stock exchange since it launched in 2011.

By comparison, Laos Securities Exchange, which launched around the same time, has five listed companies, and Vietnam has more than 800 listed companies on its two stock exchanges.

Sok Hour said the CSX was urging prospective listed firms to expedite their initial public offering (IPO) plans, including Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone (PPSEZ), which had originally announced plans to list by the end of 2015.

“We are trying to push PPSEZ to list on the CSX in the next two months,” Sok Hour said.

PPSEZ, which operates a 357-hectare industrial park on the outskirts of the capital, is hoping to raise up to $11.6 million for expansion and debt repayment by offering a 20 per cent stake in an IPO. The company is currently soliciting investors to secure commitments for about 40 per cent of the overall 11.6 million shares it will float.

Fong Nee Wai, chief financial officer of PPSEZ, said yesterday the company expects to list on the CSX by April, and possibly as early as the end of March.

“We are currently meeting with potential and strategic investors to secure some shares before the IPO,” he said. “In the interest of the company, we have to ensure that our IPO shares are fully taken up before and after the IPO for the sustainability of our share price.”

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