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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Low investment kills IMIC

Low investment kills IMIC

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

name" consultants.

"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

months.

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.

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