Tag Archives: IPO

Kaspi.kz posts jump in profits and talks up IPO options

ALMATY/Feb. 27 2020 (The Bulletin) —  — Four months after postponing an IPO on the London Stock Exchange, Kapsi.kz, a Kazakhstan-based banking and technology group, said that income rose to 197b tenge ($525m) in 2019, a 79% rise from 2018.

Kaspi.kz which owns Kapsi Bank, one of the largest high street retail banks in Kazakhstan, postponed its IPO because it said that market conditions were poor, although analysts said that it may have been irked by receiving a poorer market reception than expected. 

Kapsi.kz has close links to the Kazakh elite and, until the start of 2019, Kairat Satybaldy, the nephew of Kazakhstan’s former president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, had officially owned the biggest stake in the company. 

The company’s other main shareholders are Baring Vostok funds, Goldman Sachs, chairman Vyacheslav Kim and CEO Mikheil Lomtadze.

Reuters quoted sources inside Kaspi.kz saying that the company was once again considering an IPO and quoted Mr Lomtadze as saying: “We continue to monitor market conditions closely in relation to our potential initial public offering.”

In its full-year report, Kaspi.kz said its revenue had increased by 37%.


— This story was first published in issue 438 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2020

Kazmunaigas looking at London IPO later this year

FEB. 25 2020 (The Bulletin) — The deputy CEO of Kazakhstan’s state-owned oil and gas company, Kazmunaigas, Zhakyp Marabayev, said that it would be looking to list on the London Stock Exchange in October or November. Kazakhstan has talked up the sale of shares in Kazmunaigas for years as part of its “People’s IPO” but has constantly delayed going ahead with it, often saying that market conditions were not right.


— This story was first published in issue 438 of the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin

— Copyright the Central Asia & South Caucasus Bulletin 2020

Kazakhstan delays IPOs again

NOV. 25 (The Bulletin) — Hoping for high valuations, Kazakhstan will delay by a year plans to sell off stakes in Air Astana, Kazakhtelecom and energy company Kazmunaigas, media reported by quoting Kazakh finance minister Alikhan Smailov. Stakes in nuclear company Kazatomprom were sold off last year on the London Stock Exchange but the IPOs of other companies have been delayed several times.

— This story was first published in issue 430 of the weekly Bulletin.

Kazakhstan to postpone Kazmunaigas IPO, say sources

ALMATY/Feb. 8 (The Conway Bulletin) — — Kazakhstan will postpone the IPO of state-owned oil and gas company Kazmunaigas because of poor market conditions, two sources close to the deal told Reuters.

They said that investor interest had waned for a London IPO for Kazmunaigas, as Kazakhstan had been touting last year. Kazakh officials had launched a road-show to drum up support in 2018 and had talked of selling as much as 20% of the company to raise around $6b.

The Kazmunaigas sale was supposed to have been the centrepiece of a sell off of various Kazakh state-owned assets, including nuclear agency Kazatomprom, which listed last year on the London Stock Exchange, and Air Astana, scheduled to list this year.

Reuters quoted data which said that the value of global IPOs had dropped by 83% to $2.6b in January 2019 compared to January 2018.

Kazmunaigas declined to comment.

>This story was first published in issue 399 of The Conway Bulletin on Feb. 8 2019
Copyright The Conway Bulletin 2019

Kazatomprom to reduce uranium output in 2019

FEB. 1 (The Conway Bulletin) — Kazatomprom, the world’s biggest uranium producer, said that it would continue to reduce its output in what it said was a “market-centric” approach. Uranium prices have been suppressed since a tsunami in Japan in 2011 knocked out a nuclear power station and worried governments who cancelled other nuclear energy projects. In 2018, Kazatomprom produced 21,705 tonnes of uranium, down 7% from 2017. The Kazakh government sold a 15% stake in Kazatomprom last year on the London Stock Exchange in its most high-profile IPO to date.

>This story was first published in issue 399 of The Conway Bulletin on Feb. 8 2019
Copyright The Conway Bulletin 2019

Kazakhstan’s on-off, on-off IPOs

>> Kazakhstan has talked up the IPOs of several large state-owned companies this year but, James Kilner asks, where are they?

Was that the sound of the starting gun or was it another decoy on Kazakhstan’s journey to selling off 25% stakes in a handful of its most senior companies?

I’m talking about, of course, news this week that Kazatomprom, Kazakhstan nuclear agency, plans to list GDRs in London.

GDRs, or to use their full title — Global Depository Receipts, are a financial instrument that allows companies to sell share certificates, issued by depositary banks, to professional and institutional investors. Issuing GDRs, rather than selling off shares, is, to some degree, a more limited version of a full IPO. Access to the stock is controlled; the market is ring-fenced.

Much of the reporting of Kazatomprom’s announcement that it intended to sell off GDRs on the London Stock Exchange was excitable, exclaiming that the ‘People’s IPO’ in Kazakhstan was finally happening. But is it? Yes, selling GDRs in London will dilute the state’s ownership of Kazatomprom but this is still a long way from an IPO on an international exchange. In January this year, Kazmunaigas, the Kazakh state energy company, said that it was buying back its GDRs in London so that it could prepare for a full listing.

Does this then mean that Kazatomprom has ditched the idea of a full IPO? Where does this leave other Kazakh companies contemplating IPOs, among them Air Astana which is part-owned by BAE Systems? And what of the Astana International Finance Centre (AIFC) – President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s Great White Hope on the Kazakh steppe? Since it was officially launched in July at the site of the former EXPO in Astana, the news flow has gone quiet. It was supposed to carry an equivalent 25% Kazakh listing to match any international listing.

But despite the fanfare and the general upbeat notices from Kazakh officials, the anticipated IPOs have failed to materialise this year. Kazatomprom talked up a listing on the AIFC at the same time that it lists its GDRs sell in London but the details have yet to be released.

There is still time, of course, but Kazakhstan and its companies need to shift up a gear if they are going to hit the expectations that they have drummed up. The IPO market has weakened over the year, possibly delaying Kazakhstan’s IPO plans, but Kazatomprom’s GDR listing is not enough to give ordinary investors a decent buy-in into Kazakhstan and Kazakh companies.


>>This story was first published in issue 388 of The Conway Bulletin on Oct. 17 2018

Moscow Stock Exchange buys 20% stake in KASE

ALMATY/SEPT. 27 (The Conway Bulletin) — — The Moscow Stock Exchange (MOEX) said it will buy a 20% stake in the Almaty-based Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE) for 338m roubles ($5.2m).

The deal raises questions about the Astana Stock Exchange that opened this year and has been feted by Kazakh officials as the financial market that will attract serious global capital to Kazakhstan.

Neither MOEX nor KASE, which was set-up in 1993 and has been derided as an illiquid relic, have commented on the deal but in April Alexander Afanasiev, CEO of the Moscow Stock Exchange, had said, when a memorandum of understanding was signed, that a tie-up would improve the liquidity of both markets.

“This partnership is an important step towards integration of the markets of the Eurasian Economic Union,” he said. “Investors in both countries will receive access to new instruments, while issuers will enjoy new sources of capital.”

To the north, the Astana Stock Exchange, sited within the government-backed Astana International Finance Center, was launched to much fanfare this year. Since then, though, there has been little news. It has been promised the domestic IPOs of some of Kazakhstan’s largest companies, including Air Astana, Kazatomprom and Kazmunaigas, when they launch international IPOs this year or in 2019.
>>This story was published in issue 387 of The Conway Bulletin on Oct. 1 2018

Air Astana reports profit for 2017 and rise in passengers

ALMATY FEB. 5 (The Conway Bulletin) — Air Astana, the Kazakh national airline that is preparing for an IPO this year, posted full-year results for 2017 that showed revenue growth of 22% and a profit of $39.1m.

The results will be a relief for Kazakh government officials after the airline, which is 51% owned by Kazakh sovereign wealth fund Samruk Kazyna and 49% by BAE Systems, posted a loss in 2016 for the first time.

In a statement, Air Astana CEO Peter Foster said that EXPO 2017, the international exposition hosted by Astana for three months from June, and a rise in the number of transit passengers using the new terminal at Nazarbayev Airport, also in Astana, had driven the growth.

“Transit business grew by 58% and is now 12% of total business. Our comparatively low unit cost has enabled us to successfully grow this business segment by being competitive in key overseas markets, such as Russia, China, India and the EU, and smaller high growth markets such as Ukraine, Georgia and Uzbekistan,” he said.

Revenue in 2017 was $754m and passenger numbers were 4.2m, up 12%.

Air Astana was incorporated in 2001, flying its first flights in 2002 and replacing the Soviet-tinged Air Kazakhstan as the national flag carrier.

Air Astana has also become vital for linking Kazakhstan with the rest of the world as a handful of major airlines, including KLM and British Airways, have dropped flying to Almaty or Astana.

Mr Foster, the Air Astana CEO, said that the company would continue to grow in 2018 but that costs were rising. “Cost control, whilst maintaining quality standards, will be the key challenge in the coming period,” he said.

Air Astana, alongside the high-profile atomic agency Kazatomprom and Kazakhtelecom, is part of a clutch of state-owned companies that Kazakhstan is selling off this year on the new Astana Stock Exchange and on an international exchange.


>>This story was first published in issue 360 of The Conway Bulletin

Kazatomprom sells off stake in US nuclear company

DEC. 25 (The Conway Bulletin) — Japan’s Toshiba Corporation bought back a 10% stake in the bankrupt US nuclear power station builder Westinghouse Electric for $522m from the Kazakh nuclear agency Kazatomptom. Kazatomprom had bought the stake in 2007 for $540m. A put option in the contract meant that, although Westinghouse had been declared bankrupt in March 2017, Toshiba was forced to buy back the stake from Kazatomprom for a fixed price. Kazatomprom is the world’s biggest uranium producer. The state-owned company is preparing an IPO in 2018.

— This story was first published on Jan. 5 2018 in issue 356 of The Conway Bulletin

LSE courts Kazkahstan

JULY 17 2017 (The Bulletin) — Greg Hands, Britain’s trade and investment minister, lead a delegation to Kazakhstan in an apparent attempt to woo Kazakh state-owned companies that are considering IPOs to list on the London Stock Exchange. The London Stock Exchange has made little attempt to disguise its attempts to attract Kazakh companies to London despite previous problems with Kazakh corporate governance.


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international(News report from Issue No. 337, published on July 27 2017)