Lukashenko says he may quit as president
Belarus hits EU with tit-for-tat sanctions
Belarusian police introduce colour-coded torture system for detained protesters
Kremlin publicly condemns Belarusian police brutality in hint of growing frustration with Lukashenko
Russian services PMI rises to 48.2, but remains underwater as recovery continues to slow
Russia to start mass vaccinations on December 7
Azerbaijan’s Aliyev calls on Armenia, Russia, Turkey and Iran to assist in creating Nakhchivan land corridor
FPRI BMB Russia: Sberbank releases a three-year transformation strategy to e-commerce concern
Ukraine’s banking sector continues recovery, but profits still lagging last year
Ukraine’s real wages up over 10% in October but have been stagnant in dollar terms for almost a year
FPRI BMB Ukraine: Public has confused opinions on resolving the Donbas conflict
Western Balkans plus Ukraine subsidised coal with over €900mn in 2018-2019
Estonian parcel robot firm Cleveron eyes €30mn state loan
Estonia’s chief auditor says €1bn in state COVID-19 loans issued haphazardly
Economic sentiment in CEE falls in November as recovery momentum splutters
Estonian animation studio Imepilt to hold IPO
Brighter days ahead: The economic bounce back in 2021
Central, Southeast Europe stock markets jump in anticipation of COVID-free future
VISEGRAD BLOG: An easing of trade tensions but still an uncertain situation for export-oriented Central Europe
Hungary's PM risks isolation as Poland mulls dropping EU budget veto
Poland ready to back down from veto of EU budget
Hungary's ruling party in damage control mode after MEP sex scandal bombshell
Poland’s PMI remains stuck just above the improvement line at 50.8 in November
Czech companies dominate this year’s Deloitte Technology Fast 50 CE
Coronacrisis to get worse before it gets better forecasts wiiw
EU diplomats say no chance of Bulgaria removing veto for Skopje to start EU accession talks
IMF says downside risks to Albanian economy are increasing
EU ministers fail to agree on launch of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia
Western Balkans commit to green agenda and regional common market at Sofia summit
Bosnia’s opposition ousts nationalist parties in major cities
Bosnia’s main ethnic parties fight to hold onto power in local elections
Southeast Europe’s EU members to get biggest boost from next budget and recovery funds
Bulgaria imposes 3-week lockdown to slow down COVID-19 spread
CEE politicians highlight trade and security ties as they congratulate Biden
Breakaway Transnistria fully under Sheriff’s control as Obnovlenie party sweeps board in parliament election
Moldova’s presidential election is over, now the battle for the parliament begins
Moldova’s foreign policy reset
Russian establishment quick to congratulate Moldova's new president-elect
Rising COVID-19 cases put intense pressure on CEE healthcare systems
MEPs urge European Commission to act against Hungarian media financing in North Macedonia and Slovenia
North Macedonia mulls decriminalising cannabis to boost tourism
Retail surpass pre-crisis peak as Romanians shop instead of holiday
Romanian venture capital firm Catalyst launches new €40mn-50mn fund for TMT
Aegon to sell its CEE business to Vienna Insurance for €830mn
The state is back in business
Slovenian PM Jansa stands alongside Hungary and Poland in EU rule of law row
BEYOND THE BOSPORUS: Turkish number crunchers deliver November inflation surprise of 14%
Erdogan needs to go says analyst assessing Turkey’s economic collapse
Ukraine strikes deal with Turkey to produce killer drones instrumental in Karabakh conflict
In Karabakh deal, as many questions as answers
Protesters flood Yerevan demanding Armenia’s “traitor” PM quit over Nagorno-Karabakh surrender
Who emerge as the real winners from the bloody Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?
Below average 2020 wine production destined for volatile and uncertain global market
Iran calls on Saudis to limit $67bn defence spending to Tehran’s $10bn
Iranian prosecutors pledge to pursue Trump for Soleimani killing even after he leaves White House
No reaction from Kazakh elites as bombshell FT report says Nazarbayev’s son in law siphoned millions from pipeline scheme
UK court freezes $5bn in assets connected to fugitive Kazakh banker Ablyazov
Attack of the Debt Tsunami: global debt soars to a new all-time high
Kyrgyzstan's proposed new constitution provokes widespread revulsion
Kyrgyzstan's China debt: Between crowdfunding and austerity
CFC joins RWC in assessing KAZ Minerals buyout offer as under-valuation
China business briefing: Not happy with Kyrgyzstan
Mongolian coal exports to China paralysed as Beijing demands virus testing of truck drivers
Mongolia fears economic damage as country faces up to its first local transmissions of coronavirus
Mongolia in lockdown after suffering first local coronavirus transmissions
Mongolia’s wrestling culture: From the grasslands to the cage
No surprises in Tajikistan as Rahmon retains presidency with 91% of vote
A Tajikistan poised on verge of economic calamity set for vote
Tajikistan revives on-off dispute with Iran
Turkmenistan: The dammed united
Turkmenistan: Everybody yurts, sometimes
Dirty money investigation reviews identified payments worth $1.4bn linked to Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan unveils extensive privatisation programme
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Kazakh fintech firm Kaspi.kz’s initial public offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) and the Astana International Exchange (AIX) wowed the markets. In a big surpise, Kaspi’s shares were priced at $33.75 per global depositary receipt (GDR), the top of the indicative range, according to joint bookrunner Renaissance Capital. That valued Kaspi (KSPI) at $6.5bn, the highest price tag ever given to a publicly listed Kazakh company.
The IPO saw $870mn of Goldman Sachs-backed Kaspi shares, representing 13.4% of the company’s share capital, sold by shareholders. Another 3,864,736 shares are being made available by certain shareholders pursuant to the over-allotment option. If exercised in full, it would increase the number of GDRs in public hands to approximately 15.4% of issued capital.
The stock opened at $38 per share and traded as high as $46.90 at a volume of more than 4.4mn shares. As noted by Forbes, which praised Kaspi as Kazakhstan’s first new tech leader, that’s more than Russia’s Yandex trading volume, which averages 3.8mn per day. The IPO was the LSE’s second largest of the year and the fourth largest in all of Europe.
The sale marked a big turnaround from Kaspi’s attempted IPO in late 2019. That scrapped offering failed to meet a $4bn market cap valuation by potential buyers.
First since Alliance
Kaspi is the first Kazakh lender to sell shares in London since Alliance Bank in 2007, which made its move before Kazakhstan’s banks were weakened by the 2008 crisis. Kaspi also marked the first listing in Kazakhstan in two years. The failed IPO of around a year ago saw Kaspi backtrack on an LSE share sale from which it hoped to raise between $500mn-$700mn.
The company itself raised no money from the completed sale, with all shares coming from stakeholders including Baring Vostok Capital Partners, chairman Vyacheslav Kim, CEO Mikheil Lomtadze, a private equity firm set up by embattled US investor Michael Calvey and Goldman Sachs.
Kaspi.kz started trading on the LSE on October 15 and will start trading on the AIX on October 21.
The company has benefited from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic-driven shift to digital services from people that have been forced to largely stay indoors. The company’s 7.8mn user-strong consumer app, the Super App, offers bill payment, loans, peer-to-peer payments, an online marketplace and a personal finance management tool. The Kaspi app is used by many retailers in Kazakhstan to sell goods via its marketplace and to accept payments. Many retailers allow Kazakh citizens to use the payment system as an alternative to cash. This boosted the Kaspi app as a quickly growing popular payment option.
Kaspi’s net income jumped 50% to Kazakhstani tenge (KZT) 115.6bn (€232.13mn) in the first half of 2020 and the mobile app’s usage surged 72% in the past year, despite economic woes that have hit Kazakhstan due to coronavirus lockdowns.
Kaspi’s offering was jointly arranged by Morgan Stanley, Citi and Renaissance Capital.
Company eyes online travel
The company presently has growth plans such as expanding into new businesses, including online travel, in nearby Central Asian countries and the Caucasus region.
The Kaspi-controlled Kaspi Bank made a decision in February 2019 to delist the bank from the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE) during an extraordinary meeting. At the same time, Kaspi.kz remains listed on the KASE. Kaspi Bank’s total assets as of 30 June 2020 amounted to KZT2.48tn.
In October 2019, the nephew of former Kazakh president of three decades Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kairat Satybaldyuly, sold his 30% stake in Kaspi.kz prior to its announcement of the intended flotation in London that ended up as postponed.
Central Asia has a total population of around 74mn people. Most do not have access to banking services and around 55.2% of the regional population live in rural areas where financial inclusion is a stretch. That’s good news for regional fintech in general, according to a report by Astana International Financial Center titled “The State of Fintech in Central Asia: How Kazakhstan Drives the Regional Fintech Industry”, published in June.
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