On April 30th, RMA (Cambodia) PLC (“RMAC”) launched a 5 year USD 20 million equivalent Khmer Riel maiden bond – the first bond from an RMA Group subsidiary, and the first corporate bond from a privately owned company in Cambodia. It is also a landmark transaction for Credit Guarantee Investment Facility, a trust fund established by the Asian Development Bank as its first guaranteed transaction in Cambodia. The bonds are also registered under the Asian Bond Market Initiative.
RMAC, a subsidiary of RMA Group, is a leading Cambodian incorporated distribution company. The business oversees some of Cambodia’s best-performing brands including Ford, the largest volume seller of new vehicles, premium brand Jaguar Land Rover, John Deere the top leading provider of agricultural equipment, as well as material handling and construction equipment brands Fuso, TCM, JCB and JLG. Not only does RMAC have a good reputation for developing local talents, the company is always innovating to thrive in today’s fast-changing business environment. Tapping into opportunities offered by new technology, the RMAC team has created a comprehensive network that provides superior solutions to clients.
The bonds sold by RMAC will provide an important new source of liquidity to grow the company. It will also offer investors an excellent opportunity to diversify their portfolios. Moreover, the launch represents a significant development for the domestic capital markets of Cambodia.
“It’s a big deal for everyone involved,” said Lyn Kok, Advisor to RMA Group. “It’s a bit like graduating from high school and going to university as it’s an important milestone in RMAC’s fundraising activities. Since this bond is a public issuance, RMAC will end up sharing quite a lot of information about the company. Financial advisors, investors, and government regulators will all have to ensure that the right frameworks and disciplines are in place to ensure transparency of information and market trading in order to protect investors. We are very pleased that RMAC is in the right financial position to play a role in the development of the capital markets in Cambodia.”
Lyn plays an instrumental advisory role on the RMA Group board. Prior to her work with RMA Group, she held various executive-level positions for Standard Chartered Bank throughout the Asia Pacific region. Most recently, she was President and CEO of Standard Chartered Bank in Thailand for six years. In this position, she also oversaw the bank’s activities in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam, which puts her in a unique position to provide invaluable insights into the workings of the region’s financial landscape.
This maiden bond will pave the way for other corporations in Cambodia to follow suit and also start issuing their own bonds, she said.
As more and more companies start issuing bonds, it will substantially grow Cambodia’s financial markets, which in turn will provide a good source of liquidity for the nation’s businesses to grow and compete more effectively.
“It’s not just about financial returns,” Lyn said. “It has taken us more than a year to bring this to fruition with our financial advisor and underwriter, SBI Royal Securities and our credit guarantee provider, CGIF. The motivation that kept us all going was knowing that our maiden bond issuance also serves a greater purpose and a greater vision. It’s about RMAC being part of an important milestone in Cambodia’s financial system as it works to set up a transparent, fair, and efficient capital market system which will fuel the economy and fuel the growth of the country.”
Open-minded leadership: A vehicle for growth
The maiden bond from RMAC is a major milestone for the company and for the larger RMA Group. Lyn said that this step, along with the overall success of the Group, is largely due to the visionary leadership of RMA Group CEO Kevin Whitcraft. Lyn said Kevin has gone out of his way to include experts across various sectors on his board of directors.
“As the head of a family-owned business, Kevin doesn’t need to have an independent board of directors,” said Lyn. “But he’s always trying to ensure that the Group is operating at the highest standard possible. He gets a lot of guidance and direction from his board members – fantastic people who have run businesses in their own right – to get the proper strategic focus and support for RMA. And I think that says a lot about Kevin.”
It’s this type of open-minded and strong leadership that led RMAC to make the bold decision to start selling bonds, especially during unprecedented times of COVID 19. By enlisting the help and heeding the advice of experts like Lyn, RMA Group is equipped to be an industry leader in all the sectors in which it operates.