Goldman Sachs has acquired 4.1% of Kazakhstan’s recently launched Astana International Exchange (AIX), according to Forbes.
Investment banking and financial services company Goldman Sachs also entered a 5-year put option agreement with the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC)—a financial services hub which held its official launch ceremony during the summer. AIX is part of the AIFC.
Kazakhstan plans to float at least seven large state-owned companies in 2018-2020. The IPOs are set to take the form of dual listings run on the London Stock Exchange and the AIX. The first company set to list is the world’s largest uranium miner Kazatomprom. It has announced its listing plans for a 15% stake to be offered this month, while the remaining shares will remain in the hands of sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna. A tenth of the shares sold is to be listed on the AIX.
The AIX is 25.1%-owned by the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The new bourse hopes to attract much needed liquidity via the IPOs.
Kazakhstan’s first attempt at launching a stock market, the Almaty-based Kazakhstan Stock Exchnge (KASE), has failed to attract liquidity due to a multitude of factors including barriers to entry. The AIX is Kazakhstan’s attempt at remedying its previous stock market sector mistakes.
KASE suffers from a lack of transparency. Its barriers to entry for foreign investors include the need to hire brokers who possess knowledge of the local language. Such obstacles make it highly unattractive to any foreign investor and deter them from properly setting up shop in Kazakhstan.
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