Automotive, heavy equipment, engineering and food services conglomerate RMA (Cambodia) Plc (RMAC), which has a corporate bond listed on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX), reported considerable improvement in business performance in the first quarter of the year – ended March 31 – despite regional and global economic challenges.

In a recent filing to the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX), the company posted total revenue and profit after tax of 631.188 billion riel ($153 million) and 69.656 billion riel for the January-March quarter, respectively up 46.90 per cent and up 44.90 per cent year-on-year from 429.669 billion riel and 48.071 billion riel.

As of March 31, total assets and total shareholders’ equity stood at 958.668 billion riel and 487.573 billion riel, up 7.80 per cent and up 11.34 per cent year-on-year from 889.295 billion riel and 437.903 billion riel.

RMAC chairman Kevin Whitcraft noted in the filing that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) had pegged Cambodia’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow by a “vigorous” 5.5 per cent this year.

“Nevertheless, the weaker global economic environment coupled with the Ukraine-Russia war and hiking interest rates have softened Cambodia’s growth [in the first quarter].

“Financing institutions have made it tougher for consumers to access consumer loans, which [has] slowed the pace of post-Covid recovery in various industries. Also, tourism has seen a favourable rebound though not as important as expected. The real-estate business stalled with very few transactions being negotiated during the quarter.

“The automobile market overall contracted by nine per cent during the quarter compared to the previous year, though the new car market grew by 12 per cent,” he said.

Whitcraft revealed that RMAC witnessed 46 per cent and 44 per cent year-on-year growth in sales and net profit in the three months ended March 31. “During that period, our new Chinese brand Changan was very active with the launch of four new models.

“We are proud to have achieved a new milestone securing the after-sales distributorship of Mercedes-Benz in Cambodia starting [from March 1, 2023].

“RMAC thrives to execute its business strategy of being the leading supplier of world-class automobiles, construction and agricultural equipment, and materials handling equipment in Cambodia.

“During the quarter, RMAC has continued to fulfil its long-term objectives of meeting our Cambodian consumers’ needs by launching exciting new products with a specific focus on technology, lower fuel consumption, and with a constant view toward safety,” he said.

In a previous filing, RMAC had noted that “the Cambodia car market in 2022 grew by 26 per cent compared to the previous year, at approximately 71,000 vehicles both new and used sold and registered against 57,000 units in 2021.

“New car sales have increased to above 28,000 units which represents a 43 per cent increase over 2021. The new car market in 2022 weighed 39 per cent of the total market, increasing its footprint from 34 per cent in 2021. During 2022, Ford new vehicle sales were up by 31 per cent,” it said.

According to the European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (EuroCham), RMAC – through its network of affiliates – “exclusively represents and manages” brands including “Ford Motor Company, Jaguar and Land Rover, Piaggio JCB, John Deere, JLG, Hako, PowerBoss, Minuteman, TCM, Megger SebaKMT, John Deere, AVIS, The Pizza Company, Swensen’s, Dairy Queen, Krispy Kreme, Bar B Q Plaza and The Coffee Club”.