The Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, the only deep-sea port in the country, on Thursday became the fifth company and third state-owned enterprise listed on the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX), with an initial public offering of 5,040 riel, or about $1.26, per share.
The shares, listed under the code PAS, opened at 5,360 riel, the day’s high, and closed at 5,100 riel after the trading of 13,798 shares worth 73.1 million riel, or about $18,300, according to CSX data.
Lou Kim Chhun, the port’s chairman and CEO, said the company would use revenue generated from the public listing to grow the business and improve efficiency.
“After we sell the shares, we can expand our port business and buy more cranes and land to extend the port,” Mr. Kim Chhun said at the CSX office in Phnom Penh.
The Finance Ministry will retain 75 percent of PAS’s nearly 86 million listed shares and about 21.4 million shares will be available for public trading. Some 364.5 million shares will remain unlisted, according to PAS’s disclosure documents.
At the IPO price, the publicly available shares are worth about 107.9 billion riel, or $27 million.
PAS had revenues last year of nearly 209 billion riel, or about $52.25 million, according to an unaudited portion of the disclosure.
Fewer than 25,000 shares in total were traded on the exchange on Thursday, at a value of about 124.3 million riel, or about $31,000.
Hean Sahip, CSX chairman and secretary of state of the Finance Ministry, said he hoped the exchange’s newest listing would help boost market liquidity.
“I strongly believe that Sihanoukville Autonomous Port is an enterprise that has a robust growth potential and will be even stronger after listing and trading its shares,” he said, according to prepared remarks.
Lamun Soleil, director of CSX’s securities market operations department, said an additional company on the exchange would increase trading and the investor base.
“We believe the market will be more active,” Mr. Soleil said.
While the volume of trading activity and the number of investors may increase, public confidence may not grow much due to perceptions of the port as a bureaucratic company that lacks transparency, said Chou Ngeth, a senior consultant at regional firm Emerging Markets Consulting.
“So far, its business practice is very much a government style,” Mr. Ngeth said in an email.
“Building trust and transparency are keys to attract investors and trading volume. There should be more listing amongst high[ly] reputable companies to accelerate public confidence,” he said.
(Additional reporting by Buth Kimsay)