The state-owned Phnom Penh Autonomous Port became the third firm to list on the country’s stock exchange on Wednesday, with Finance Minister Aun Porn Moniroth ringing the opening bell on a day of trading that saw the price of shares in the port rise slightly.
The port joins the government-run Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority and the Taiwanese-owned Grand Twins International garment factory in trading on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX), which launched in July 2011.
While the bourse has since struggled to gain momentum, the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone and the Taiwanese-owned garment company TY Fashion are also expected to go public next year.
CSX chairman Hean Sahib said during on Wednesday’s launch that he hoped the latest listing would mark a turning point for the fledgling exchange, which currently sees about 5,000 shares traded each day.
“These figures are still low compared to stock exchanges in other countries in the region,” Mr. Sahib said. “So encouraging trading by increasing the daily trading volume and the number of investors is the key task that needs to be achieved.”
The price of shares in the port was 5,120 riel (about $1.28) prior to the start of trading on Wednesday, rising to 5,140 riel by closing time. Just over 13,000 shares were traded during the day, with more than 4.13 million floated in the initial public offering (IPO).
Hai Bavy, chairman of the port, said it was too soon to gauge public interest in the firm.
“I think the price will rise within three months, six months, or one year, when investors study the company properly,” he said. “So immediately, the price cannot be assessed.”
The port brought on local firm Mekong Strategic Partners to help prepare the IPO. The firm controls just under 10 percent of the company and holds 30 percent of the shares floated on Wednesday, according to John McGinley, a managing partner.
Mr. McGinley said he was confident that the port would perform well as the country’s economic activities expanded.
“It has a strong, capable team and is aligned to the growing manufacturing and export sector. It therefore has an exclusive connection to the engine of Cambodia’s economy—and so we saw it as a compelling investment,” he said.
“We are not so concerned about fluctuations in the short term in this company, as we think it will continue to perform in the long run,” he added.
(Additional reporting by Tej Parikh)