Kazakhstan to delay privatisations of state firms to fetch higher valuations

NUR-SULTAN, Nov 25 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan plans to delay the public offerings of stakes in national energy firm KazMunayGaz , airline Air Astana and telecoms operator Kazakhtelecom to next year, in a bid to improve their valuations, its finance minister said on Monday.

The Central Asian nation had planned to list Air Astana and sell a stake in Kazakhtelecom this year, but Finance Minister Alikhan Smailov told parliament on Monday that advisers hired by the government suggested delaying the sales in order to achieve better valuations.

A number of initial public offerings (IPOs) have been cancelled or postponed this year amid market uncertainty, including that of privately owned Kazakh financial and technology group,, and Swiss Re’s British life insurer ReAssure.

Investor sentiment has been rocked by expectations of an economic slowdown due to Brexit and the U.S.-China trade war as well as political unrest in Hong Kong.

Smailov said a fourth company, national railroad operator Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, would take longer to prepare for listing as it is working on replacing its foreign debt with domestic borrowing. (Reporting by Tamara Vaal Writing by Olzhas Auyezov Editing by Louise Heavens)