The Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS) was making every effort to speed up preparations for its listing on the Cambodian Securities Exchange (CSX), the port’s chief executive, Lou Kim Chhun, said this week.
“We feel very close to completion, and we think the listing will not be far away,” Lou said in his office in Sihanoukville, but he declined to give a precise date.
The 100 per cent government-owned business is one of two companies planning to list on the CSX this year, along with Telecom Cambodia.
The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority listed on the exchange last month.
Lou said he felt confident in the government’s decision to list the company.
He said the decision had been considered carefully, and much has been learned by watching neighbouring countries such as Thailand and Vietnam.
The company would list 15 per cent of its stock to begin with, and would “study the situation carefully” before listing any more, Lou said.
About 60 per cent of Cambodia’s exports and imports pass through the port, with the remaining 40 per cent arriving or departing from Phnom Penh or other private ports, Lou said.
The main competition to Sihanoukville would come from Vietnamese ports, he said.
Most imports that move through the port are from China, and are mainly textiles, machinery and construction materials.
Europe and the US are the biggest importers of Cambodian goods, mostly garments, shoes and rice.
Currently, all Cambodian shipments go through nearby ports such as Singapore and Hong Kong.
Shipping directly to the United States or Europe is a goal Lou would like to see come to fruition, but he said it all depended on economic scale.
The PAS has received support from the Japanese government and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and work is being done to upgrade the port facilities.
On May 1, a special economic zone was created directly behind the port.
“We understand that some factories have to import and then export, so the cost is sometimes very heavy, so we can save time and money with the creation of this port,” Lou said.
Work began on the special economic zone in late 2010 and it is now ready for operations to begin.
“We want to promote investors,” Lou said.
A multi-purpose terminal, 260 metres long and 13.5 metres deep, is planned to be built soon, to be used mostly for agriculture export, while a 200 metre-long terminal is planned to facilitate the offshore oil drilling planned for 2015.
“These two new products are very important for the economic growth of Cambodia and improving the standard of living for poorer Cambodians,” Lou said.
Currently, the port employs 1,066 people and moves 237,000 containers annually, and the port has seen a seven per cent increase year-on-year increase in volume.
“This is a good opportunity for the people: they can invest, and if they invest and make a profit, that is very good for our people, which is who we serve,” Lou said.
Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority became Cambodia’s first listed company in mid-April.
The stock soared during the first few days of action but declined nearly to its initial public offering price a few weeks later. The price has since stabilised.
Lao Saroeun, the director-general of Telecom Cambodia, told the Post his state-owned company was confident with the decision to list on the exchange.
To contact the reporter on this story: Abe Becker at [email protected]