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Sihanoukville port announces bookbuild and IPO date

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An aerial view of the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port in Preah Sihanouk province Heng Chivoan

Sihanoukville port announces bookbuild and IPO date

The state-owned enterprise that operates Cambodia’s only deep-sea port officially announced that it will launch its six-day bookbuild and public roadshow starting next Tuesday with an expected initial public offering (IPO) on the Kingdom’s stock market set for May 31, the company’s sole underwriter said yesterday.

Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (SAP) will float a total of 21.44 million shares, or 25 percent of the company, in hopes to raise $27 million to expand and improve on existing facilities. It will be the fifth company to list on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) in the last five years and would be the largest IPO to date.

The bookbuild, a tool used by underwriters to record demand from institutional investors, is expected to set a price band from $0.88 to $1.29 per share.

Seng Chan Thoeun, head of corporate finance at SBI Royal Securities, the port’s sole underwriter, said that proceeds from the IPO will be used to purchase an additional 52 hectares of land to construct a new dry port, while also expanding its container yard and purchasing new heavy machinery.

He added that the firm has already presented the port to institutional investors abroad in places like Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan and expects the bookbuild to fully subscribe the 21.44 million shares.

“[The port] is the best company to list on the stock exchange to date because it is the only deep-sea port in Cambodia and can connect to other ports both regionally and globally,” he said. “We forecast that container traffic at the port will increase significantly in the future and that is why the port needs to increase productivity and expand.”

According to an announcement by SAP yesterday, the company has allocated 54 percent of the bookbuild shares to the Japan International Cooperation Agency, or JICA, with another 25.2 percent up for grabs by regular investors with 10.8 percent set aside for subscription. The remaining 10 percent will go towards an employee stock ownership program.

The port operator first announced its intention to list on the CSX in 2012 but has faced a number of setbacks, including listings compliance and tax issues.

Lamun Soleil, director of the CSX’s market operation department, said that it was good news that SAP has cemented its bookbuild dates and it showed that the state-run company has cleared its lingering compliance hurdles. He believed that its addition to the sleepy bourse could revive trading activity.

“SAP is a state-owned enterprise that is directly connected to the strong growth of Cambodia’s economy,” he said. “The more the Cambodian economy grows, the more imports and exports will increase [causing] SAP’s business activities go up.”

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