There has been a buzz surrounding the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) in recent weeks.
The upcoming listing of Acleda Bank Plc has set off new levels of enthusiasm in the stock market, which has otherwise received a somewhat tepid response from the investor community.
CSX CEO Hong Sok Hour is certainly excited. He has noted that the upcoming initial public offering (IPO) by Acleda – a top home-grown bank with a strong track record – could provide needed impetus for the so-far lethargic bourse.
“It is a big leap forward from 2018. There have been lot of changes over the past two years because we have initiated many projects and campaigns to create awareness.
“The news of Acleda being listed seems to be changing things. Stock prices have started to climb again,” Sok Hour told The Post.
So far, the exchange boasts eight listed companies – five stock-listed companies and three bond-listed firms.
The CSX experienced a rollercoaster ride after the first listing of Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority in 2012, followed by lull period until 2017, when Sihanoukville Autonomous Port was listed.
In between these listings, garment-maker Grand Twins International (Cambodia) Plc went public in 2014, followed by the entry of Phnom Penh Autonomous Port the following year and Phnom Penh SEZ Plc in 2016.
Acleda, which plans to list this April, could break market monotony, with more companies expected to follow suit.
“If we continue to maintain the momentum we have built over the last two years, and with Acleda, we can build an active market in the next two to three years. More companies are showing interest, but they are not there yet,” Sok Hour said.
But headwinds are plenty that could dampen the latest positive sentiments. Investor attention is still inadequate in the bourse, while tight regulations, a fear among some stakeholders of instability after listing and a lack of incentives to woo the private sector are some nagging woes.
In addition, the concerns regarding the Covid-19 outbreak, which is impacting economies globally, coupled with volatile international financial markets could also dampen investor’s short-term interest. Yet Sok Hour is optimistic.
“We have a lot of potential, and our economic growth is strong. Right now there is inadequate interest, not many listed stocks and liquidity is low.
“But in two to three years’ time we will have more listed companies and so we [anticipate] greater liquidity in the market. There will more opportunities then, while some stocks are very attractive now,” he said.
Since the establishment of CSX in 2012, capital worth about $161 million has been mobilised, while more than 20,000 investors have traded on the local bourse.