The Kingdom’s stock exchange boss on March 22 provided a statement welcoming Green Sustainable Ventures (Cambodia) Co Ltd’s (GSV) plans to issue a “green bond”, amid a growing list of companies moving to list the sustainability-linked debt instruments on the local bourse.

This comes after the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) on March 7 approved GSV’s green bond for listing – following an eligibility review – which is now on track to become the bourse’s second, after real estate firm Golden Tree Co Ltd (GT) on January 19, but ahead of ACLEDA Bank Plc’s offering.

Although ACLEDA’s green bond on November 21 got the nod from the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), it has yet to be officially sanctioned by the CSX.

GSV’s green bond – which would be its debut on the CSX – still requires the green light from the Securities and Exchange Regulator of Cambodia (SERC) and must fulfil all additional listing requirements.

Speaking to The Post on March 22, CSX CEO Hong Sok Hour remarked that the exchange’s approval marks a major step in GSV’s green-bond journey, and called for the company to prepare the necessary documents and otherwise comply with additional SERC and CSX requirements.

“We welcome the company to list on the CSX – it would dovetail with the government’s mission to build a green business community … [as well as] demonstrate their commitment to environmentally-friendly business operations.

“With more private companies offering green bonds, the bar will be better defined, attracting other firms to list and thus secure more financing for business expansions,” he said.

According to the CSX, GSV’s offering is the second green bond – and 10th bond overall – to receive its formal approval. The company was established in 2009, with its main business involving the generation of 20 megawatts (MW) of electricity from solar energy in Svay Rieng province, the bourse said.

The Council for the Development of Cambodia on March 19, 2021 issued a notice confirming that it had greenlit GSV’s 20MW solar power project, with registered investment capital of $17.6 million, near the Vietnamese border in Monorom village, Monorom commune, Svay Teap district of eastern Svay Rieng, just north of Bavet town.

The Ministry of Commerce’s business registry notes that the GSV was incorporated on May 24, 2019, and lists two officers from the company – both with Malaysian postal registered office addresses – identifying “Lim Pay Chuan” as the senior.

Paul Lim Pay Chuan is also group CEO of Malaysian power infrastructure provider PESTECH, whose local unit, PESTECH (Cambodia) Plc listed a stock on the CSX on August 12, 2020, raising 12.3084 billion riel ($3 million).

In a filing to Bursa Malaysia on January 15, 2020, PESTECH International Bhd announced that its unit Astoria Solar Farm Sdn Bhd (ASF) had bought a 94 per cent stake in GSV from “two individuals” for $4 million.

Meanwhile, SERC director-general Sou Socheat told The Post on March 21 that Cambodia’s pursuits of ASEAN-labelled green bonds and accompanying eco-friendly financing initiatives have shown “excellent progress” that has won applause from the Southeast Asian bloc’s other countries.

He was speaking from Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where he was attending the 38th ASEAN Capital Market Forum (ACMF) Chairs’ Meeting.

Participants lauded Cambodia for GT’s issuance of the Kingdom’s inaugural green bond and the work leading up to the moment, he said, adding that the instrument carried the ASEAN Label which certifies compliance with ASEAN Green, Social and Sustainable Bond Standards.

The 10 ASEAN countries have talked at length about the role of green bonds in reducing carbon emissions, he said, stating that Cambodia will have more companies listing the securities, with ACLEDA Bank Plc preparing an offering that could be sold later this year.

“We were applauded by all ASEAN leaders for the achievements we’ve made so far – despite the small size of [GT’s] issuance, it is indeed the goal of everyone involved,” he added.

The Joint Statement of the 38th ACMF Chairs Meeting noted that around $38.06 billion in ASEAN-labelled green, social, or sustainable bonds or sukuk – a similar instrument also known as “Islamic bonds” – had been issued as of March 15, under the ASEAN Green, Social, and Sustainability Bond Standards introduced in 2017 and 2018.