A Change of Guard

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Friday 31 August 2012

Laos, Cambodia set for more listings

More private firms will list on the Cambodian and Laotian bourses next year, their executives told media yesterday at the "Thailand Focus 2012" conference in Bangkok.

Hong Sok Hour, chief executive officer of the Cambodia Securities Exchange, said yesterday that there was currently only one listed firm on the bourse, with market capitalisation of US$140 million (Bt4.4 billion), but five more were expected to list next year. Three of those firms are state enterprises - two port facilitators and one telecom.

He said one-third of investors trading shares in the local market were foreign.

Dethphouvang Moularat, chairman and CEO of the Lao Securities Exchange, said he expected one firm to list on the bourse next year, Lao Telecom Co, which is going to merge with Enterprise Telecommunications Lao. It will join two firms already listed.

He said Laotian investors preferred long-term plays. "They keep shares to store their wealth to be handed down to their children."

Such behaviour has made the market less liquid, he said. However, the authorities do not want many local people to trade shares because of high risks.

"We want them to learn first - let foreign investors engage in financial games," he said.

Meanwhile, Stock Exchange of Thailand president Charamporn Jotikasthira said CK Power Co, a unit of Ch Karnchang Group that is registered in Laos to oversee projects there, was expected to list on the SET in the fourth quarter of this year.

Overseas-listed holding companies will be allowed to list on the SET from tomorrow onwards, as a mechanism to promote overseas investment of Thai companies ahead of the activation of the Asean Economic Community.

Charamporn said listing firms were also expected to raise more funds to expand their businesses in the country and abroad.

Aphinant Klewpantinond, CEO of Phatra Securities, said fund-raising could be done via other channels such as infrastructure funds, rather than equity trading.

Le Hai Tra, deputy CEO of Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, said it had signed a letter of intent to join Asean's stock-market linkage platform.

Tran Van Dzung, CEO of Hanoi Stock Exchange, said the two Vietnamese bourses were in the process of merging into a single entity.

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