Commission chairman and Economy and Finance Minister Keat Chhon said granting the licences was a key step towards the bourse, scheduled to launch in July next year “at any cost”.
The 15 companies were selected from a shortlist of 22 applicants compiled by the SECC in March. The number of permits granted reflects the initial requirements of the Cambodia Stock Exchange, according to Keat Chhon.
Commentators have expressed conflicting views on whether an appropriate number of licences had been granted, while others have voiced concerns over the readiness of the twice-delayed exchange.
Nguon Meng Tech, director general of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, said that while the number of licences granted was reasonable, the timeframe for the stock market to launch was too hurried.
“The government could open the stock market if they commit to opening it, but I think there would be no listed firms because of a lack of public confidence and knowledge among local investors” at the launch date, he said.
“It will need at least another three years to launch the stock market in Cambodia.”
Han Kyung-tae, chief representative of Korean-owned Tong Yang Securities Inc-Cambodia, said that the number of licences had been “expected”.
“But it will be tougher competitions for us as there are up to seven underwriters at the first stage,” he said.
Project Manager Inpyo Lee, a representative of the exchange’s minority owner, Korean Exchange, said: “The number [of licences] is more than my expectation.” He declined to comment on what he felt would be an appropriate number of pemits for the beginning stages of the stock market.
Other players contemplated ways to aid the launch of the exchange.
The concept of a stock exchange was still a new one for Cambodia, said Pung Kheav Se, president of Canadia Bank, which owns approved underwriter CANA Securities Limited.
He said the licensed firms had a duty to educate people about the market.
“Even our bank, we don’t have any experience with this task, but we have employed an expert from Singapore,” he said. “If we don’t start [the exchange], we won’t know the way to go,” he added.
Three state-owned enterprises have been ordered by the government to prepare themselves for listing on the bourse: Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority and Telecom Cambodia.
“We may try to approach the three firms for IPO preparation,” said Pung Kheav Se.
Keat Chhon said that SECC officials were reviewing and evaluating application documents for market operators, transfer and paying agents, and accountants.
(source from the phnompenh post newspaper, Tuesday, 02 November 2010 19:37 Nguon Sovan)