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Kazakhstan Postpones IPOs on Volatile Markets

Tuesday 13 March 2012

ASTANA (Reuters) – Kazakhstan has postponed plans to float shares in several state-run enterprises, including an oil transport company and its national grid, due to volatile global market conditions, economy minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev said on Tuesday.

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Last January, Head of State Nursultan Nazarbayev signed a decree on appointment of Bakytzhan Sagintayev as Kazakh Economic Development and Trade Minister relieving him of his as governor of Pavlodar region.
Sagintayev graduated from the S.M. Kirov Kazakh State University (1985), PhD in Economics.

Kazakhstan had planned to launch the first phase of its “People’s IPO” in the second or third quarter of this year, part of a programme aimed at giving ordinary Kazakhs the chance to own shares in major companies. The IPO programme envisages that the jewels in Kazakhstan’s crown – state oil and gas firm KazMunaiGas and uranium miner Kazatomprom – will go public after 2015, potentially raising billions of dollars via sales to local and foreign investors.

Sagintayev told a government meeting the proposed listing of national grid company KEGOC would be postponed until next year. State oil transportation company KazTransOil could still be floated by the end of this year, the minister added.

On October 26, 2011, at a round table in Almaty, the managing director of NWF Samruk Kazyna, Peter Howes, had already warned that People’s IPO dates in Kazakhstan might shift depending on market conditions. “If there is a huge crisis, it is always possible to put off the IPO,” he said.

Presently, only a small part of the Kazakhstani population – about 10,000 people – are investing in securities traded on the stock market. As President Nursultan Nazarbayev expressed last year, the People’s IPO provides an opportunity to hundreds of thousands of ordinary people to have shares of the largest companies, as well as a new investment tool to increase savings.

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