Orix Investment in Acleda Seen as Exploratory

Orix, a Japanese financial conglomerate, will acquire about $11 million shares in Acleda Bank PLC, Cambodia’s largest bank, by the year’s end, officials announced Wednesday, although industry executives said the investment appears only exploratory and likely won’t make more than a ripple in the banking sector. … Mr. [In] Channy [CEO of Acleda] declined to disclose the deal’s market price, though it has been reported at between $51 million and $61 million. “I’ll let Orix tell you,” he said. Mr. Channy said, however, that Orix’s 6-percent slice of the bank is not part of the 51 percent of Acleda that is owned locally. … Acleda currently has four foreign investors: Hong Kong-based JSH Asian Holdings Ltd.; COFIBRED, a subsidiary of Paris-based BRED Banque Populaire; Dutch banking company Triodos; and the World Bank’s International Finance Corp. … “It’s an interesting, strategic investor for Acleda, and I think the implication is good news for them…. But it doesn’t carry any particular implications for the industry,” said Grant Knuckey, CEO of ANZ Royal. “An investment of their percentage is generally pretty exploratory and allows the investor to learn about the market. Whether this is followed by any further banking sector investments or Japanese banks converting to branches, you can’t draw that conclusion now.” …

Joshua Wilwohl