Kazakh NOC Hopes IPO Opens Doors

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Kazakhstan’s national oil company, Kazmunaigas (KMG), is in the process of selling around 5% of its shares on the domestic market in a long-awaited initial public offering (IPO). Although the IPO, which will run until early December, is limited in its size and will prioritize Kazakh over foreign investors, it marks a milestone in KMG’s corporate history and could be followed up by a larger global offering next year if market conditions are deemed favourable. All the shares will be sold on the Astana and Almaty exchanges by Kazakh sovereign wealth fund Samruk Kazyna, which owns around 90% of KMG, with the remaining 10% held by the Central Bank. The IPO was supposed to happen several years ago but suffered repeated delays due to a combination of Covid-19 and jitters on financial markets. It is part of a wider government program to privatize the largest state companies, which includes gas transmission and marketing company Qazaqgas (formerly Kaztransgas) that was spun off from KMG last year and is now a fully owned subsidiary of Samruk-Kazyna. The first big state company to go for an IPO was uranium producer Kazatomprom, which raised around $3 billion when it sold 15% of its shares in late 2018.

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