Kazakh officials deny plans to drop "People's IPOs" programme

By bne IntelliNews May 28, 2013

bne -

Two top Kazakhstani government officials have denied the existence of plans to abandon the "People's IPO" programme, under which minority stakes in major state companies will be sold to the population at a discount.

Responding to reports in the Kazakh press that the government was planning to cancel the planned IPOs of nine state companies, Finance Minister Bolat Zhamishev said May 27 there was no possibility the programme would be dropped, Tengrinews reported.

Later in the day, Kuandyk Bishimbayev, deputy chairman of Kazakhstan's sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna, which holds stakes in a number of state firms, also confirmed plans to go ahead with the IPOs. "There is no such plan [to drop the People's IPOs]. There is currently a small delay, there are legal issues that will be solved," Bishimbayev said.

On May 27, newswire KazTAG cited a government source as saying that the programme is expected to be put on hold until the end of 2013 and may even be cancelled, despite the successful People's IPO of pipeline operator KazTransOil in 2012.

The unnamed source also said that officials from the Prosecutor General's Office have claimed that the KazTransOil IPO was illegitimate and that existing legislation does not provide for the sale of shares in power companies.

Under People's IPO programme, minority stakes in around ten major state-owned or partially state-owned companies will be floated on the Kazakhstan stock exchange (KASE), with the aim of boosting activity on the KASE and encouraging retail investment in the stock market. The IPOs of Kegoc, KazTransGas and Samruk-Energy are all expected to take place in 2013, with the IPOs of several other companies including railways operator Kazakhstan Temir Zholy and atomic energy company Kazatomprom to follow by the end of 2015.

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