The investment advisory company International Management and Investment Consultants
Limited (IMIC) has announced it will close after seven years of operation, blaming
its decision on a lack of large, long-term investors to the Kingdom.
IMIC Associate Director Paul Freer told the Post on Dec 21 that IMIC made the decision
last week to merge its operations into those of its sister company Indochina Research
Limited (IRL) due to a lack of large scale investment into Cambodia.
"The decision is largely the result of a slowing of new investment to Cambodia,"
Freer said, stressing that IRL's market research clients and those of IMIC would
be unaffected by IMIC's closure.
IMIC's decision to downgrade its operations comes as a stinging rebuke to year-long
government initiatives to reform an international investment profile described by
Minister of Economy and Finance Keat Chhon in Nov 1999 as a "casino economy"
peopled by "cowboy investors".
According to Freer, serious long-term investors remain as wary as ever about putting
their money into Cambodia. While Freer says that regional investors continued to
look at Cambodia for investment opportunities, the projects were mostly small and
IMIC's services were rarely sought.
"IMIC has always been a company that's serviced large, predominantly western
companies, but over a period of time that kind of investment has leveled off,"
he said. "Business-wise we're just not seeing any big names coming into Cambodia
to invest and IMIC simply can't continue to carry the overheads anymore."
Rival investment consultants spoken to by the Post were untroubled by IMIC's demise.
Senaka Fernando of Price Waterhouse Coopers attributed the closure to an increase
in competition for investor clients and investor preference for well-known "brand
"It's like buying a drink, you are more likely to choose a Coca-Cola than a
homemade drink from the market," he said.
David Doran of DFDL Legal Advisors was surprised by the news of IMIC's closure in
light of what he perceived as in improvement in Cambodia's business climate in recent
However he admitted to seeing a positive impact from IMIC's withdrawal from the local
investment services market.
"I guess it means more business for us," he said.