Kazakhstan to offer KMG EP stake in “people’s IPO”

Mar 1. Reuters

By Dmitry Solovyov

Kazakhstan to offer KMG EP stake in "people's IPO"Kazakhstan’s citizens will be offered the chance to own a 5 percent stake in the listed arm of KazMunaiGas when the state kicks off a “people’s IPO” to boost exposure to the stock market, the country’s president said.

Nursultan Nazarbayev, who is expected to win an election on April 3 and extend his presidency into a third decade, said KazMunaiGas Exploration and Production (KMGq.L) RDGZ.KZ would sell shares worth a cumulative $500 million this year.

“One person will be able to acquire a maximum of 50 shares,” Nazarbayev said during a two-hour briefing with local reporters, which was broadcast on state television early on Tuesday and published on the presidential website, www.akorda.kz.

He did not specify the face value of the individual shares.

KazMunaiGas E&P, the London-traded unit of state oil and gas giant KazMunaiGas KMG.UL, has a market capitalization of $10.4 billion. At current prices, a 5 percent stake in the company would be worth approximately $522 million.

Kazakhstan, the largest economy in Central Asia, plans to launch a series of initial public offerings this year and next in order to improve liquidity in its stock market and allow some of its 16.4 million people to own shares in its major companies.

“This is an event of paramount importance for the state,” said Nazarbayev, 70, who was a member of the Soviet Communist Party’s last Politburo and has led Kazakhstan since before its independence in 1991.

“Only citizens of Kazakhstan will be able to participate,” he said. “The whole world is earning money on the stock market and citizens of Kazakhstan should also learn how to do this.”


State grid company KEGOC, postal firm Kazpost and national rail monopoly Kazakhstan Temir Zholy would be among the next wave of companies to offer shares, said Nazarbayev, who ordered his government last month to prepare the floats.

Resource companies would also be candidates for future listings, he said, in a country that mines more uranium than any other and holds slightly more than 3 percent of the world’s recoverable oil reserves.

He named Glencore-controlled zinc miner Kazzinc and the Temirtau steel plant owned by ArcelorMittal (MT.N) (ISPA.AS) – where Nazarbayev once worked – as candidates for domestic IPOs, as well as London-listed ENRC (ENRC.L) and Kazakhmys (KAZ.L).

Nazarbayev also said he had no specific plans to conduct an election campaign ahead of the April 3 vote, referring instead to his January 28 state-of-the-nation speech and an address to his ruling Nur Otan party last month.

During the briefing, he instructed city and regional heads to refrain from arranging any mass demonstrations.

“Let’s allow others willing to become president to show themselves, to take the floor,” he said. “I will ask law-enforcement bodies for these elections to be held transparently, honestly and openly everywhere.”