March 13, 2012 / 9:25 AM / 6 years ago

Kazakhstan postpones IPOs on volatile markets

* Economy minister says global markets unpredictable

* National grid KEGOC float postponed until 2013

* KazTransOil may float in October 2012

By Raushan Nurshayeva

ASTANA, March 13 (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.

The oil-producing Central Asian country 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.

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.

“KazTransOil and KEGOC are ready to offer their shares to the public,” Sagintayev said.

“At the same time, due to unpredictable developments in the world economy, we suggest it would be expedient to carry out the KazTransOil IPO this year ... and to postpone the KEGOC IPO until 2013.”

Kuandyk Bishimbayev, deputy head of sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna, told the same meeting that the KazTransOil listing was planned for October 2012.

The government plans to invigorate the small local stock market and to raise around $500 million from the first round of IPOs, which will see company stakes of 5-15 percent sold to retail investors and local pension funds.

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.

Kazakhstan is the second-largest oil producer in the former Soviet Union after Russia. It is also the world’s largest uranium producer and a major exporter of grain and industrial metals.

Kairat Kelimbetov, then economy minister and now a deputy prime minister, told Reuters last October that the share floats might be postponed if global markets remained volatile. (Writing by Robin Paxton; Editing by Mark Potter)

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