Local public-listed ACLEDA Bank Plc (ABC) reported sound business performance in the first quarter of 2023 amidst the regional and global economic slowdown.

According to ACLEDA’s interim financial report filed to the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) on May 9, the bank and its subsidiaries in Laos and Myanmar collectively logged operating profit and total revenue of 499.232 billion riel ($125 million) and 826.770 billion riel, respectively, up 33.46 per cent and 16.50 per cent year-on-year.

At the same time, net profit came to 157.251 billion riel, up 9.58 per cent year-on-year.

“The increases were mainly due to the effectiveness of a broad range of banking products and services in [the] digital era, [an] increase in customers and effective cost management,” the report said.

Speaking to The Post on May 10, CSX Market Operations Department director Kim Sopha Nita hailed ABC as one of the most outperforming stocks, in terms of revenue, profit and dividend growth.

“With high liquidity in the market while the stock price is still very reasonable, I believe ABC remains one of the most ideal stock[s] for investment,” Nita said, predicting that the disclosure would further boost demand for that stock.

“Even though global and regional economic is uncertain, there is still opportunity for our market to grow. As a matter of fact, we’re having two big IPOs [initial public offerings] in progress, accompanied by many prospects” of ESG (environmental, social and governance) bond offerings, she said.

“Trading values also burst last week and we receive up to a thousand new accounts opening every month. We are still optimistic and go[ing] forward,” she added.

ACLEDA raised $17.5 million in its IPO on the CSX in May 2020, becoming the first financial institution to list on the local bourse.

The locally-owned bank has four subsidiaries – the ACLEDA Institute of Business, ACLEDA Securities Plc, ACLEDA Bank Lao Ltd and ACLEDA MFI Myanmar Co Ltd – as well as representative offices in Myanmar.

“By the end of December 2022, ACLEDA Bank had $8.92 billion in total assets, $6.25 billion in total credit balances, and $6.22 billion in total savings deposits with over 3.98 million customers,” it said in a press release earlier this year.

Meanwhile, according to its annual report, the CSX saw seven new listings in 2022, up from just two a year earlier.

These were: JS Land Plc’s IPO on the Growth Board, three corporate bond issues from Royal Railway Plc, and three listings of government (sovereign) bonds issued by the Ministry of Economy and Finance – the first of their kind in Cambodia.

For context, the Growth Board was launched late in 2015 as an alternative platform to the Main Board. The secondary board lifts some of the barriers for listing and caters to smaller firms with more limited access to capital or financial resources – and ideally those with high-growth prospects.

The CSX reported 222 billion riel in capital raised last year – up 133 per cent over 2021 – with corporate and sovereign bonds accounting for 63 per cent and 32 per cent, respectively.

Eighteen corporate securities feature on the CSX – nine stocks and nine bonds. Companies have raised a total of $317 million through their offerings on the exchange, according to its CEO Hong Sok Hour.

As of January 19, around 36,000 CSX trading accounts had been opened, he told The Post at the time, confirming that the average daily trading value on the bourse reached about $500,000 last year.

The CSX has outlined a number of goals for 2023, such as doubling the number of new securities listings to 14 and the average daily trading value to $1 million, the latter of which would constitute a third consecutive year of record highs.

The bourse also aims to triple the number of new trading accounts this year, with the “CSX 2022 Achievements, Outlook, and Plans for 2023” bulletin noting that “over 5,000” were registered in 2022.

The CSX is co-owned by the Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Korea Exchange (KRX) on a 55:45 basis.