Nexbis Loses VN Contract, Cambodian Deal Still Sealed in Murkiness

The ever sliding confidence in Nexbis Limited, the firm behind what was touted by government officials as one of the biggest deals ever signed in Cambodia, has dropped to a new low following an announcement to the market last week that the firm has failed to seal a road safety contract in Vietnam.

Shares at the security technology company closed at AU$0.082 yesterday on the Australian Securities Exchange, a drop of 18 percent since Friday when Nexbis announced the loss of the Vietnamese deal to the market. Immediately after the announcement, the share price at the company dropped to AU$0.07, an all time low over the past twelve months and an 87 percent drop since August.

In its market statement on Friday, Nexbis said it “has not been successful” in acquiring a $1.05 million project designed to provide “hardware and maintenance to Vietnam’s Vehicle Registration Department as part of the Vietnam road safety project.”

“While this was not a significant project in terms of forecast revenue contribution,” Nexbis said, “our tender participation has provided an important opportunity to introduce Nexbis technology to officials from multiple ministries in Vietnam and fostered valuable dialogue with several other government departments.”

Australian media reports have reported similar, fruitless business deals announced by Nexbis with Asian governments.

Cambodian officials said the government had signed a deal with Nexbis on May 10 during a business forum between Cambodia and Malaysia that coincided with an official visit from Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

According to a copy of the agreement, the Nexbis deal claimed to be worth $700 million and involved supplying the Interior Ministry with services in passport and visa printing.

But Nexbis, which has its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, made no announcement to the market until May 19 after the Australian media started to ask questions about the contents of the reported contract after being tipped off to the deal by media in Cambodia.

In its May statement to the Australian stock exchange, Nexbis announced it was in negotiations with the Cambodian government over a deal in the range of $700 million over the course of 15 years, but did not elaborate any further.

Nexbis has not responded to numerous enquiries over the contents of the agreement, and Cambodian officials have also continued to shed little light on the matter.

“So far I don’t have any information for you,” Interior Ministry spokesman Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak said yesterday.

Government spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kanharith also said yesterday that he was unaware of any details regarding the massive deal.

“I am sorry but I don’t have complete information on the issue,” he wrote in an email, referring questions back to Mr Sopheak at the Interior Ministry.

Opposition party spokesman Yim Sovann said the government’s secrecy surrounding the deal was suspicious and raised questions about the overall transparency of the government’s bidding process.

“If the deal is to do with ID cards I don’t think the government would keep it a secret,” he said, adding that the matter was yet a further example of the government’s poor level of transparency. “We should invite all the investors to come together and bid.”


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