Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Global Ratings on November 23 evaluated the Stand-Alone Credit Profile (SACP) of locally-owned publicly-listed Acleda Bank Plc at “BB” and Credit Ratings at “B+/Stable/B”.
In a filing to the Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX) on November 24, Acleda said the ratings are a result of its two-tiered “strong foundations” comprising “a strong business franchise, stable revenue streams and strong retail deposit base underpinning the ratings” and “manageability of the asset quality”.
“All of these factors reflect the strength of the bank’s business network operations by maintaining its growth, success, resilience and sustainable development,” it said.
Acleda senior executive vice-president Mar Amara told The Post on November 25 that despite the Covid-19 community outbreak that has plagued the Kingdom during 2021, the bank continues to expand its automated banking services.
She said the objective of this scaling up is to enhance the bank’s capacity to adapt to the latest technologies, and to provide faster, more convenient, secure and popular solutions to clients.
“[With] the new Acleda mobile interface, the customers are able to do online banking transactions from anywhere, anytime easily,” Amara said.
She said the growing use of automated systems “is not only demonstrating the change of [clients’] attitudes in using traditional banking services, but also indicating the contribution in preventing the spread of Covid-19, with the Royal Government as well as the Ministry of Health”.
Amara also acknowledged that the increasing novel coronavirus vaccination rates can build community immunity throughout the Kingdom, to combat the spread of Covid-19.
Seeing the effectiveness of Covid curbs, the government has allowed businesses to start back up and the country to begin a cautious phased reopening, guided by “new normal” regulations, she said.
Authorities have also shortened quarantine periods and loosened requirements for Cambodian officials and foreign diplomats and delegations, as well as investors and travellers in general, who have been fully vaccinated, she added.
“This is a sign that economic activity will significantly increase from the end of 2021 due to the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccine which has been introduced worldwide,” Amara said.
On November 22, Singapore-based ASEAN Plus Three Macroeconomic Research Office (Amro) forecast the Kingdom’s economic growth at a moderate 2.8 per cent in 2021, tempered by uneven growth across sectors.
“Strengthening pandemic management and implementing flexible policies to support vulnerable sectors and put the economy on a firmer recovery path remain vital, while the ongoing fast rollout of vaccines will ensure a steady economic reopening.
“The recovery momentum is dampened by the slow return of international tourists, despite easing containment measures,” it said in its 2021 Annual Consultation Report on Cambodia.
It noted that amid improvements in the public health system, “Cambodia’s high reliance on close contact services sector and a labour-intensive manufacturing sector renders its recovery more vulnerable to Covid-19 outbreaks”.
Acleda posted more than $39 million in net profit from business operations in the second quarter of this year, an increase of 27.66 per cent year-on-year, despite the economic headwinds caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.