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Private Companies Prepare To Enter Stock Exchange

At least eight private companies are prepared to enter Cambodia’s nascent stock exchange, some as soon as it opens and others a few years down the road.

Thy Khemara, a research analyst for Tong Yang Security, which is preparing private companies and state enterprises for the bourse, said at least two or three companies will be ready when the exchange opens, while five or six others “would be able to do so after the stock exchange is running for a few years.”

More than 70 companies met in Phnom Penh last week to study the processes of a bond market, including the banks Cambodia Public, Acleda, First Commercial, Maruhan Japan, Vattanak and OSK Indochina; the micro-lenders Amret and Hatha Kakekar; and Camintel and Forte Insurance.

Chhun Sambath, a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia, declined to disclose the names of the companies that plan to list on the exchange, but he said those who had attended last Wednesday’s meeting were close to being able to join.

“These companies are all potential companies, meaning they are able to issue bonds,” he said. “Now they are preparing and working with the SECC. To sum up, we have enough companies to run our market if we establish it in the upcoming time.”

Ly Tay Seng, CEO of ABS and Consultants, said his firm was working with two foreign banks in Cambodia on security regulations.

Cambodia plans to establish its securities market in December, and government officials have been struggling to meet the deadline. Three state-owned companies, Telecom Cambodia, the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority and the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, are expected to be the first to join the stock market.

It remains to be seen which private companies will immediately join.

Sok Sophal, chief of securities and investment for Acleda Bank, said the company intends to one day list on the stock market and has created an internal securities team.

The bank will watch how credit grows when the stock market is established and determine whether it needs more capital, he said. “If the credit grows fast, we will consider whether we should sell equities or bonds,” he added.

Cheong Kin Soon, senior manager of OSK Indochina Bank, said his company has made a priority of joining the securities market.

Listed companies will be able to sell equities and bonds, but not before an independent securities evaluation agency determines the strength of the companies, Chhun Sambath said.

No such agency currently exists in Cambodia, he said.