Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sihanoukville port will float

Japanses-owned SBI Phnom Penh Securities has been selected as underwriter for the Initial Public Offering of Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, though the timing of its listing on Cambodia’s new stock exchange has yet to be revealed.
The port’s listing is “scheduled after the stock exchange becomes operational”, an SBI press release stated today.
The agreement to prepare the state-owned company’s IPO, signed between Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Aun Porn Moniroth and SBI Holdings executive officer and director Kenji Hirai on Monday, emphasised the government’s commitment towards launching the exchange, a government release said.
SBI Phnom Penh Securities was also chosen as an advisor to the ministry, serving in the role along with Tong Yang Securities of Korea, which is the selected underwriter for two other state-owned firms set to list on the exchange – Telecom Cambodia and the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority.
SBI Phnom Penh is also one of seven underwriters approved for the Cambodian stock exchange which is set to launch in July “at any cost” after being twice-delayed, according to officials.
Today, the director of SBI Phnom Penh Securities, Jeremy Ha, confirmed the deal but declined to discuss the preparations in further detail.
“We have signed an agreement to be financial advisor to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, including preparing an IPO for Sihanoukville port,” he said.
He declined to comment on a possible date for the port’s listing.
“[Cambodia] is a new market, so it’s a bit complicated,” he said.
Sihanoukville Autonomous Port director general Lou Kim Chhun said today the port was preparing for a float, adding it had generated net profits of about US$3 million last year.
“We are readying IPO preparations. We are preparing step by step,” he said.
Figures obtained from the port last month claimed $28.4 million in revenues during 2010, a 13 percent increase on $25.15 million the year previous.
The port has previously received support from Japan.
It has obtained $30 million in soft loans from the Japanese government to help develop a Special Economic Zone on 70 hectares of land near its site.
Work at the site is slated finish at the end of this year.
Over the last 12 months, the listing of Sihanoukville port on the CSX has been uncertain. Last year, the Ministry of Economy and Finance signed an agreement with Korean-owned Tong Yang Securities to handle the other two state-owned enterprises set to list.
But at the time of the announcement, government officials did not name Sihanoukville port as one of the three firms to list, despite it already having been publicly tipped for the exchange.
Instead officials said “another state-owned enterprise which will be appointed later by the Royal Government of Cambodia”, casting doubt on whether the port was to be selected to list on the exchange.
Progress has since been made towards opening the exchange but some issues – such as what currency listings will be allowed in – remain undecided.
Earlier this month, officials at Telecom Cambodia said its shares may not be tradable on the exchange until the end of this year.
(source PPP newspaper, Tuesday, 22 February 2011 19:38 May Kunmakara)

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