the new majority owner of Caminco is Viriya BVB Insurance plc, a purely Cambodian company



Caminco sale confirmed
Written by Robert Carmichael and Nguon Sovan
Tuesday, 07 April 2009

Company acknowledges 75 percent takeover of state-owned insurance firm
was finalised in November with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s backing

THE government sold three-quarters of its stake in state insurance
company Caminco last year for US$5.7 million, the new majority
shareholder confirmed on Monday. The deal, whose existence has not yet
been made public, sees the government retain 25 percent of Caminco.

Caminco's new Managing Director Duong Vibol of Viriya BVB Insurance
Plc told the Post on Monday that the deal was agreed in June 2008 -
when full payment was made - and transfer of ownership was completed
in November. He added that the deal was approved by Prime Minister Hun
Sen.

Existence of the deal is not widely known. Cheam Yeap, the head of the
National Assembly's banking and finance committee and a Cambodian
People's Party (CPP) member, told the Post on Thursday that he knew
nothing about it.

The deal came to light in a brief Asian Development Bank (ADB) report
released last week that evaluated ADB's technical assistance program
designed to improve the government's running of the finance sector.
Part of that program was improving the running of Caminco, with an eye
to a sale, said the report.

ADB said that the new owners were a joint venture comprising an
insurance company from Thailand and a Cambodian investor. That was
incorrect, said Duong Vibol, who confirmed he is the Cambodian
investor mentioned by the ADB.


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I had already registered Viriya BVB so I used Viriya BVB to buy
Caminco shares.

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Duong Vibol said the new majority owner of Caminco is Viriya BVB
Insurance plc, a purely Cambodian company, adding that the company has
no relationship with Thai insurance company Viriya Insurance, although
he said he had come close to an arrangement.

"Viriya Insurance in Thailand gave an exclusive for me to start an
agency or brokerage [in Cambodia] on behalf of Viriya [Thailand]. But
instead of that I was thinking that I start a company with the name of
Viriya and my company BVB," he said.

"I was supposed to start another insurance company on behalf of Viriya
[Thailand], but I didn't start that business," he continued. "I had
already registered Viriya BVB so I used Viriya BVB to buy Caminco
shares."

Duong Vibol said that his company had discussed an agreement with
Viriya Insurance in Thailand in which the Thai company would provide
technical assistance to the newly privatised Caminco, but he later
decided against it.

The ADB noted that better financial results from Caminco in 2007 led a
successful sale. Duong Vibol said Caminco's results in 2006 showed net
income of US$120,000, which more than tripled to $380,000 in 2007.
Last year net income was down to $100,000, he said.

The ADB report notes that a previous effort to offload a stake in
Caminco had been unsuccessful. The report said that in 2006 a list of
20 international companies was drawn up, with three companies
shortlisted.

But after signing nondisclosure agreements, two of them (unnamed New
Zealand and Singaporean firms) turned down Caminco, the report said.
The third company - UK giant Prudential - expressed some interest then
went quiet.

In December 2007, Caminco renewed its five-year operating licence.
Caminco's main premium income is from motor insurance.
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