The Phnom Penh-based Westline Education Group Co Ltd (WEG) still plans to sell shares through an initial public offering (IPO) on the Cambodia Securities Exchange’s (CSX) secondary Growth Board “in the upcoming years” to diversify its funding sources and open additional schools in more localities nationwide, according to the company’s boss on September 5.
WEG co-founder, chairman and CEO Pech Bolen told The Post that his company – classed as a small- or medium-sized enterprise (SME) – joined the Securities and Exchange Regulator of Cambodia’s (SERC) Excellence Program and was certified as “qualified” to issue equity securities on a Cambodian bourse.
He affirmed that the firm is consolidating its position in preparation for listing, to garner more support from public investors when the day comes.
“Actually, we’re ready to list, but we need a little more time to make our company a bit bigger and stronger in order to gain the public’s trust,” Bolen said without providing a concrete timeframe.
“The reason we are issuing these securities is to ensure that the public, especially parents of students, have the right to own shares in our school, and we’ll also have additional access to funds to further expand our business,” he said.
SERC director-general Sou Socheat told The Post on September 5 that through the Excellence Program, the regulator has been providing technical tips to SMEs that want to list on the capital market.
He spoke highly of WEG’s potential, and voiced optimism that the IPO would help the company expand its business. “[Although] they have funds from other investors, they now want to diversify their funding sources from the capital market to instil confidence among the public, and thereby be better able to attract more partners in the future and develop the schools,” he said.
Socheat disclosed that the company is currently preparing its corporate governance and financial statements, in accordance with listing requirements.
According to the company profile on its website, “starting with a school of 600 students and 70 teachers and staff in 2008, WEG has grown so far to become a leading education group with more than 13,000 students and more than 1,000 teachers and staff in diverse education and training subsidiaries in 2017.
“Since the establishment of its first school in 2008, the company has been widely recognised as one of the leading education companies – it has inspired many local and international education and development communities,” it said.
For reference, the CSX’s Growth Board was launched late in 2015 as a secondary platform to lift some of the barriers for listing and cater more to companies with less access to capital or financial resources. But it had failed to attract a single issuer over the years until September 6, 2021, even as the Main Board witnessed increasing growth. To date, there are only two firms listed on the Growth Board.