May 30, 2011 / 8:57 AM / 9 years ago

Start of Cambodian share trading delayed to end-2011

PHNOM PENH, May 30 (Reuters) - Trading on Cambodia’s long-awaited stock exchange, which was scheduled to start in July, has been delayed yet again until the end of the year because companies planning listings need more time to comply with regulations, operators said on Monday.

Ek Sonn Chan, director general of state-owned Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA), said there were many details still to be ironed out but his company was going ahead with plans for a $20 million flotation.

“It’s going to be a small offering, about 15 percent,” he said, adding the company did not need the money for expansion. Rather, its listing was to help set ground rules for other companies wanting an Initial Public Offering (IPO).

Han Kyung-tae, managing director of Tong Yang Securities (Cambodia), which is helping PPWSA and state owned Telecom Cambodia to prepare listings, said the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) already had systems and a platform in place, and there would be a “soft launch” on July 11.

“It’s not going to be an easy task but as an underwriter, I am positive for a first IPO at the end of this year,” Han Kyung-tae said.

In a statement posted on its website on Monday, the Finance Ministry said it was following the experience of other countries that had launched their market first so that it would have time to prepare for securities trading later.

At least 10 private companies want to list on the bourse besides state-owned PPWSA, Telecom Cambodia and Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, according to a government official, who declined to provide further details.

The stock exchange will quote share prices in the local riel currency , despite pleas from foreign investors who would prefer dollars because that would make it easier to assess risk.

The bulk of Cambodia’s financial transactions are in dollars, which make up 90 percent of deposits and credits in the banking system in one of Asia’s poorest countries.

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia has granted licences to 15 securities firms to operate on the CSX — seven underwriters, four brokers, two investment advisers and two dealers, most of them partly or wholly owned by Malaysian, Vietnamese, Japanese, South Korean or U.S. companies. (Reporting by Prak Chan Thul; Editing by Alan Raybould)

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