Acleda looking to go public
Twenty-five percent of Acleda Bank’s shares will soon be available for trading as stakeholder ASA Plc announced late Wednesday, its plan to list on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX).
Acleda Securities Plc president and CEO Prom Visoth noted that the move could potentially double the number of registered traders on the CSX, which could jumpstart trading volumes.
ASA, or Acleda Staff Association, said it is seeking approval for the move from the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia (SECC).
ASA board member Suos Ousaphea said the proposal had already been submitted, and he expects it to be approved soon, making the bank the sixth company to list on the Kingdom’s bourse.
“We believe the official listing will happen before next year,” he said, adding that banking and finance firms in Cambodia are growing more stable, so the shares were sure to attract public interest.
At the end of last year, Acleda Bank’s total assets accounted for nearly 20 percent of the country’s banking sector. It reported a net profit of $92.5 million last year, down from $127.3 million a year before.
ASA Plc was established in 2000, to owns over 25 percent of Acleda, and is itself owned by more than 10,000 shareholders, mostly made up of Acleda employees.
A profile published in August of last year said ASA is the second largest shareholder of Acleda Bank while Acleda Financial Trust is the largest with a 26 percent stake.
It was also reported last year that ASA’s share capital at the time was $89.6 million.
Ousaphea said the initial share price was still being debated by the ASA team.
Visoth speculated on Thursday that the approval process would be quick for ASA as it had been traded internally for years and could potentially skip the typical initial public offering (IPO) phase.
He said Acleda Securities would assist ASA’s 10,000 shareholders to set up trading accounts at CSX.
“When ASA’s shares are listed, the number of trading accounts at CSX will double and help increase the number of trading transactions. This means the CSX will become far more active,” he said.
CSX Listing and Disclosure Department director Lamun Soleil was upbeat that the move would have a positive impact on the Kingdom’s bourse.
“When more companies are listed and more people trade, the volume will increase as well.
“Acleda is the largest bank in Cambodia, so when its shares are traded, it will attract public attention. People will be curious and more willing to buy shares [on the exchange],” he said.
Soleil expects that ASA’s share could go live before the end of the year.
Pestech Cambodia is also waiting for approval to list shares. When both firms are listed, there will be a total of seven companies on CSX’s main board.