C AMBODIA'S first private television company, the Thai-owned International
Broadcasting Corporation (IBC), is trying to sell its station because it was
losing money and was faced with "impossible" conditions from the government,
according to General Manger Pichai Chand-Aium.
Information Minister Ieng
Mouly told IBC that a Cambodian partner must take 51 percent of the station's
ownership, or else its 30-year contract would be halved and its tax-exemption
importing status canceled.
Pichai said that the station was losing
$40,000 each month in the last two years.
Advertising revenue has dropped
roughly 80 percent since United Nations troops withdrew from Cambodia and in the
face of two competitors: state-owned TVK and the former Funcinpec station
He said IBC in Bangkok would not accept the government's proposal
and wanted to sell the entire station. He suggested someone such as Teng Boon
Ma, chairman of Thai Boon Rong company, might be one who could afford the
probable $2 million price tag.
Pichai told the Post that he will decide
to have a Cambodian shareholder only if no one wanted to buy it
Khieu Kanharith, the secretary of state for the Information
Ministry, said that the government would like to have Cambodian partners working
in TV and radio stations.
He said IBC had only invested about $1 million
in the station "so it is not suitable to have a long [30-year]
However, Pichai said the investment by owners Shinawatra Group
was nearer $2.8 million.
IBC's contract has actually dropped from 99
years under the State of Cambodia regime, to 30 years under an SNC
Kanharith, who signed the SNC contract relating to IBC when he
was formerly the Minister of Information, said that the former government wanted
to have many foreign investors because they lacked sufficient laws.
we look to Cambodia's future. We should have suitable procedures for foreign
investors based on Cambodian law."
Pichai said his station was held in
high esteem among local companies, and had very good cooperation with the
"We have been operating according to Cambodian law. We have
every thing in the Khmer language.
"Everything has been censored by
government - even the foreign movies, such as American, Chinese or Thai
The company had 100 Cambodian employees and had been airing
international and local news, sports, entertainment and educational programs for
11 hours a day, since 1993.