Kazakhstan hires banks and advisers to ready Air Astana and Kazatomprom IPOs for 2018

Kazakhstan hires banks and advisers to ready Air Astana and Kazatomprom IPOs for 2018
Stakes in Kazakhstan's flagship airline and uranium miner could be on the sales block by next year.
By bne IntelliNews September 11, 2017

Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund is putting plans in place to float the Central Asian nation’s flagship airline and a leading uranium miner as early as next year, head of asset restructuring and privatisation at sovereign wealth fund Samruk Kazyna, Dauren Tasmagambetov, said on September 8.

The statement reiterates Kazakhstan’s previously announced plans, but this time both Air Astana and Kazatomprom have been picked up by investment banks and legal advisers and are undergoing due diligence checks. The exact size and location of the flotations has not yet been determined, Tasmagambetov said. He also noted that the launch of the IPOs will be conditional on macroeconomic conditions and market demand.

Samruk-Kazyna chairman Umirzak Shukeyev has stated that Kazakhstan has completed the privatisation of 60% of companies belonging to the fund under the country’s privatisation programme. The fund has sold 215 small and medium-sized companies since the launch of its privatisation drive and is now preparing larger firms for IPOs. The government, which has contended with a plunge in revenues from oil, has previously said it plans to sell stakes of at least 25% in 45 large state-owned companies, including seven IPOs - Tasmagambetov, however, said the stakes will be no more than 25%.

The IPOs were originally set to launch in 2017, but the fund has continuously postponed its goals or has been unclear about its future deadlines.

The Astana stock exchange, set to launch in January next year, hopes to attract investors via the planned IPOs of Air Astana and Kazatomprom as well as Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC). The bourse is aiming to attract most of the major flotations planned under Kazakhstan’s privatisation programme.

The authorities expect the privatisation programme to yield between $4bn and $7bn by the end of the drive, where the IPOs alone would account for $3.5bn-$5.5bn.

Most of the privatisation programme is expected to be completed by 2018, excluding the seven IPOs, which might get pushed to 2019 or 2020.