Cambodia bourse sees first bank listing

PHNOM PENH (AFP) – Cambodia’s largest commercial bank listed on the country’s stock market yesterday, the first lender to trade on the fledgling exchange, despite uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Acleda Bank became the sixth firm to join the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX), which opened in 2011, joining a garment factory, two state-owned ports, and a special economic zone.

But initial fanfare for the kingdom’s trading future has dimmed, with the country’s lack of financial literacy and a dearth of eligible companies being major obstacles.

Acleda has been operating since 1993 and boasts assets of USD7.5 billion.

Its Chairman and Managing Director In Channy said about 2,500 public investors became its shareholders yesterday, opening a “new chapter” for Cambodia’s financial sector.

He downplayed the risks of debuting on the CSX during the pandemic.

“We saw that our investors did not hesitate because of the trust in Cambodia, in Acleda Bank and in relevant authorities,” In Channy said.

“If we were concerned, we would not have listed today.”

Trading started at 16,200 riel (USD3.93) per share and closed at 16,500 riel.

The listing could serve as a “role model for other banks and commercial institutions that wish or are still hesitating to raise capital from the stock market”, said Economy and Finance Minister Aun Pornmonitroth at the opening ceremony.

An Acleda Bank employee counts US currency inside the bank in Phnom Penh. PHOTO: AP