Kazakhstan’s Defaulted Astana Finance Seeking Bids for Bank Unit

Sep 13. Bloomberg

By Nariman Gizitdinov

Kazakhstan’s Defaulted Astana Finance Seeking Bids for Bank UnitAO Astana Finance, the smallest Kazakh financial company to default in 2009, said it plans to sell a 100 percent stake in its commercial bank.

Astana Finance invited buyers to submit bids for the lender, the company said in a statement on its website late yesterday. Askar Barlubaev, the company’s manager overseeing the sale, declined to comment on the possible price, adding that Astana Finance hasn’t hired banks to arrange the transaction.

Astana became the third Kazakh lender to default after it stopped paying interest and principal in May on $175 million of 9 percent bonds maturing in 2011 as Kazakhstan slipped into its first recession in a decade. The company has $1.7 billion of debt outstanding, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Astana Finance’s creditors’ committee rejected its debt- restructuring proposal last month for the second time, the company said Aug. 23.

AO Bank Astana Finance’s loan portfolio reached 23 billion tenge ($156 million) as of Aug. 1 and loan-loss provisions were at 2.4 billion tenge, in accordance with international reporting standards, the central bank’s financial oversight committee said in a report on its website last month.

The lender, Kazakhstan’s 23rd largest, had equity capital of 5.5 billion tenge as of Aug. 1, according to the report.