Kazakhstan's Kcell close to London IPO

By bne IntelliNews November 6, 2012

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Kcell, Kazakhstan's largest mobile operator, is reported to be eyeing the planned listing by Russian peer Megafon for clues as it prepares to list around one quarter of its own shares in a London IPO.

Unnamed sources told the FT that preparations for Kcell IPO are already complete, with marketing due to start either this month or next, paving the way for a float to take place before the end of January. The listing is expected to raise up to $500m.

Majority shareholder TeliaSonera is understood to be waiting to see how the planned IPO of Russia's Megafon (in which the Swedish company holds a minority stake) is received before launching the Kcell offering. Russia's second largest operator insists that its planned $2bn IPO will go ahead before the end of the year, despite having delayed its roadshow late last month.

Credit Suisse and UBS are acting as advisors on the Kcell float, while Almaty-based investment bank Visor Capital is also working on it, according to a November 5 statement published on the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange.

The plan to list Kcell was originally announced in 2011, as TeliaSonera agreed to acquire a 49% stake from Kazakhtelecom for $1.52bn. That deal closed in February, giving TeliaSonera a majority stake in the Kazakhstani mobile operator (previously named GSM Kazakhstan). In addition to the 49% it owns directly, TeliaSonera holds 58.55% of Fintur Holdings, which owns the remaining 51%. Turkey's Turkcell is the minority shareholder in the holding, with 41.45%.

In a February 2, 2012 statement, TeliaSonera said, "TeliaSonera has further agreed, subject to certain conditions, to sell 25% of the shares minus one share in Kcell in an Initial Public Offering (IPO). The IPO process has been initiated, and is expected to be completed during 2012. Depending on the share price development after the IPO, TeliaSonera may have to make an additional payment to Kazakhtelecom."

Kcell, one of three GSM operators in Kazakhstan alongside Beeline and Tele2, currently has more than 12m subscribers for its mobile and data services under the Kcell and Activ brands. It has coverage in all Kazakh settlements with a population of over 5,000 people.

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