Mengly J Quach Education Plc (MJQE) on June 28 became the first education company to list on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX), having raised more than $5 million in its initial public offering (IPO) on the local bourse’s Main Board.

This comes a day after Royal Group of Companies Ltd (RGC) member CamGSM Plc’s CSX listing. The back-to-back additions have been described as marking the beginning of a “new era” for the stock exchange.

MJQE had received approval in-principle from the Non-Banking Financial Services Authority (NBFSA) on April 4 for the IPO and offer price of 2,080 riel ($0.50) per share.

At the bell-ringing ceremony celebrating the listing of MJQE’s shares (ticker symbol: MJQE), CSX CEO Hong Sok Hour noted that the offering raised “about $5.1 million”, and reaffirmed the firm’s commitment to providing shareholders with a guaranteed six per cent annual dividend yield for two years.

“I believe that the company’s fundraising efforts were highly successful in light of the current state of the globe, which is rife with uncertainty and problems. We are overjoyed that the business has earned the confidence of investors and the general public both locally and abroad.

“I hope that with the capital raised, the company will continue to grow as planned,” he said. Sok Hour called on investors to consider putting money into the stock market, and also hinted at the possibility of a second securities offering from MJQE.

At the ceremony, MJQE chairman, CEO and namesake Quach Mengly revealed that the company currently runs 16 branches of its schools – Aii Language Center (Aii) and American Intercon School (AIS) – and intends to increase that to 160 nationwide. Mengly did not mention any plans to expand the company internationally.

He commented that four more branches would be established without using IPO proceeds, but did not disclose how many were planned for each of the coming years.

“We want more SMEs to go public as well. Many businesses in nearby countries have embraced listing on the stock market as a means of expanding. To raise funds, grow and contribute to economic development and stability, I’d like to encourage local SMEs to consider listing on the bourse,” he said.

Presiding over the event, Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Hean Sahip hailed the back-to-back listings as a “new milestone” for the CSX, which he said reflects the “good efforts and cooperation” between the institutions involved.

“The Royal Government has always considered the private sector as an important driving force in bolstering the country’s economic growth and job creation for our people. Participation in the stock market is not only a means to raise capital, but also helps a company become more transparent and accountable in how it manages its business,” he said.

At the same event, Securities and Exchange Regulator of Cambodia (SERC) director-general Sou Socheat remarked that growth in the Kingdom’s securities market demonstrates confidence among the business and investor communities.