Sunday, November 1, 2009

Construction of first Cambodia bourse to begin
Venture with Korean investors to get boost

Published: November 1, 2009

(Posted by CAAI News Media)

Phnom Penh: Cambodia expects to begin construction in December on its first stock exchange, a government official said, giving momentum to a long-delayed joint venture with South Korean investors.

"We expect to have the ground-breaking ceremony in December," Mey Vann, director of the financial industry department at Cambodia's Ministry of Economy and Finance, said.

The idea of a Cambodian stockmarket has been floated since the 1990s but has struggled for traction in a country known for chronic poverty and a history of upheaval, including the Khmer Rouge "Killing Fields".

Cambodian authorities have partnered with private South Korean developer World City Co Ltd to build a $6 million (Dh22 million), four-storey stock exchange on the waterfront of a new financial district, Cambodian and World City officials have said.

The area where the stock exchange will be built is flooded swampland on the edge of Boeung Kak Lake in the heart of the Phnom Penh.

The end of the rainy season last month clears the way for workers to begin building the exchange on the corner of what developers are calling Phnom Penh Boulevard.

"The site is under a flood these days. We are pumping the water from the site," said Vann, adding he expected construction to take between eight months and one year.

The bourse was supposed to open in September, a target set last year when South Korea's stock exchange operator agreed with the Cambodian government to set up and run a joint stock exchange.

But the global financial crisis intervened, ending an unprecedented boom which saw Cambodia's economy expand 10 per cent annually in the five years up to 2008.

Foreign investment collapsed, tourist arrivals fell by double digits and garment exports, a mainstay of the economy, shrank by 15 per cent.

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