Cambodia’s Securities Exchange Introduces “Growth Board” Policy to Lure SMEs
By: Maxfield Brown
Recently, the Cambodian Securities Exchange (CSX) has announced listing criteria for a new trading platform aimed at increasing participation of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs).
As of September 10th, SMEs seeking to raise capital through the CSX will have the option of listing on a “Growth Board” – a much needed addition to the exchanges’ existing main board. Diversification through the Growth Board removes barriers to entry for many Cambodian enterprises and reduces compliance costs associated with the exchange. A review of the main requirements and fees that should be expected when seeking to raise capital on the Growth Board are outlined below
- Shareholder Equity shall be no less than 2 billion riels (US $488,440) at the date of filing. (30 billion Main Board minimum)
- Meet at least one of the following:
- Net profit in the latest financial year prior to the date of logging the application (minimum profit of two billion riels in the last year and aggregate profit of 3 billion riels in the last two years for the Main Board.)
- Positive operating cash flow and gross profit margin of at least 10%
- Number of shareholders holding less than 1% (one percent) voting shares, who hold 10 shares or more, shall be at least 100 as of the date of filling application. (200 minimum for Main Board)
- Shareholders holding less than 1% shall constitute at least 10% of total ownership. (7% Main Board Minimum)
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Opportunities for Investment
The CSX – established in 2011 – and its recent introduction of SME accommodations represent key opportunities for investment in one of ASEAN’s most promising frontier economies. Once locked out of international capital markets, advancing access to equity has increased funds available to Cambodian enterprises, and thus provides a necessary catalyst for firm expansion. By leveraging increased capital, together with competitive production conditions, Cambodian producers are primed to establish themselves as a low cost production hub in South East Asia.
With growth on the rise, increased utilization of equity markets also presents opportunities for international firms seeking to commit capital via foreign portfolio investment (FPI) or foreign direct investments (FDI). The liquidity of FPI inflows provides first time investors significant mitigation against regulatory uncertainty and – as there are no current limitations on foreign ownership – provides firms the option of incrementally increasing their holdings. More importantly, increased access to domestic financing options removes a major impediment to FDI and has resulted in a 69% increase in investment since the announcement of the CSX in 2011.
While the establishment of the CSX has certainly laid the groundwork for increased access to capital, the Growth Board provides the necessary tools to increase participation in an exchange that has only managed to attract two listings as of 2015. With balance sheets being used by 4 and 24 percent of small and medium sized enterprises respectively, streamlined Growth Board accounting requirements to encourage participation while ensuring transparency. According to Sok Dara, deputy director general of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Cambodia (SECC), the Growth Board reduces barriers to entry through improved regulations and increases “the possibility of choices for SMEs to raise capital, beyond just financing and banking options.” Improved regulations have already started to take effect with preliminary listing application rapidly following the unveiling of the Growth Board.
To learn more about the CSX and the process of listing in Cambodia, please contact the legal and tax specialists at Dezan Shira & Associates.
The full text of CSX listing requirements can be found here.
Asia Briefing Ltd. is a subsidiary of Dezan Shira & Associates. Dezan Shira is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in China, Hong Kong, India, Vietnam, Singapore and the rest of ASEAN. For further information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.dezshira.com.
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