Two companies listed on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) reported sound business performance last year despite economic duress caused by the Covid-19 pandemic’s enduring stranglehold on regional and global economies.
In its filing to CSX last week, ACLEDA Bank Plc (ABC) reported strong growth with total revenue of more than $141.66 million in the fourth quarter of last year, or a sharp 17.17 per cent increase compared to $120.894 million in the same period a year earlier.
“The increase was mainly due to an increase in net interest revenue of 16.37 per cent, equivalent to 55.350 million riel [$13,630] compared to the fourth quarter of 2019,” said the bank.
And state-owned Sihanoukville Autonomous Port (PAS) reported a strong 15.6 per cent year-on-year rise in net revenue in the fourth quarter to $2.718 million, from $2.349 million.
However, the deep-sea port operator posted a 7.59 per cent year-on-year dip in sales revenue.
“The decrease in revenue and the increase in operating and net profit were due to the result of the declines in general cargo throughput and fuel, and the increase of unrealised foreign exchange loss [in Japanese yen] compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.
“However, the increase in containers throughput and the decrease in deferred tax expenses led to an increase in profit after tax instead,” PAS said in its filing to CSX.
CSX vice-president Ha Jong-weon told The Post that the companies’ financial performance – especially ABC’s – remained strong, with revenue and profit increases over the year.
Even with a business concept that is vulnerable to disruptions caused by the pandemic, PAS managed to remain profitable last year, he noted.
“This shows that both companies have managed to position themselves well and have a good strategy to mitigate and weaken the impact resulting from Covid-19,” Ha said.
He lauded ABC’s ability to achieve such strong performance during these tough times as an “extraordinary” confidence boost for its shares.
“This might be the best possible time to invest in their shares – at only a few hundred Khmer riel above their IPO [initial public offering] price for a company that shows such performance.
“The listing of ABC can be considered a historic moment of the capital market in Cambodia,” Ha said.
Offering some comforting notes about PAS after a year marred by the health crisis, he added: “However, if we look at the interim financial report, there was only a slight decrease in revenue even in the period of the pandemic.
“Positively, we expect that once the situation gets better, we will witness robust growth from the port business again.”
The government’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout will rebuild confidence in the country’s economic activities, he said.
“Even though this might contribute in part to economic relief, we can see that the Cambodian economy still depends largely on FDI [foreign direct investment] and tourism from abroad. Therefore, as long as the virus hasn’t completely vanished, the problem will still exist.
“However, we believe that the virus will not escalate as quickly as in the previous months and once a larger part of the world starts receiving the vaccines, the global economy will be back to normal,” Ha added.