Kazakh grid operator runs out of time on IPO

By bne IntelliNews November 8, 2013

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Kazakhstan's electricity grid operator Kegoc has postponed its IPO until 2014, after failing to complete preparations in time to float the company by the end of the year, as planned. The news puts a dent in Astana's "People's IPO" programme, with other listings also struggling to hit their deadlines.

Kegoc chairman Bakytzhan Kazhiyev said in an interview published by Newskaz that there is "too little time" to hold the IPO this year. The float had been expected to see around 10% of the grid operator's shares floated on the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE).

"As it's already mid-November, there's too little time for the company to run an IPO. Some documents prepared back in spring 2013 need to be updated ... a respective president's decree is needed... I guess we won't make it this year," Kazhiyev admitted.

So far just one company - pipeline operator KazTransOil - has managed to get its listing out of the gate since President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced the "People's IPO" programme in February 2011. The scheme is aimed at boosting retail stock market investment, stimulating activity on the KASE, and raising funds for the companies' investment programmes.

KazTransOil, a subsidiary of state oil company KazMunaiGas, successfully floated a 10% stake in 2012. The sale, at KZT725 ($4.82) per share, valued the stake at $186m. Gas pipeline operator KazTransGas and electricity generator Samruk-Energo, along with Kegoc, were all due to float in 2013, but preparations have taken longer than envisaged by the government, and they are yet to make a move.

Kazhiyev said it is up to the government to decide on the timing of the Kegoc IPO, but indicated it's likely to go ahead in the first half of 2014. Eight more companies are due to be listed by the end of 2015 under the programme. They include KazMunaiGas, flag carrier Air Astana, shipping transporter Kazmortransflot, rail operator Kazakhstan Temir Zholy and subsidiary Kaztemirtrans, and nuclear energy company Kazatomprom. However, the timescale is now looking increasingly ambitious.

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