Business news in brief

Askar Mamin resigned from his position as chair of national logistics company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ), and Christian Kuhn was elected to the post, reports Kapital.kz. In addition to Kuhn, the board of directors now includes Almasadam Satkaliyev, Andrey Kravchenko, Nurzhan Baidauletov, Sauat Mynbayev, Serik Svyatov, Tito Syzdykov and Yernar Zhanadil. Mynbayev was appointed KTZ board chair Nov. 20, having been KazMunayGas chair since 2013. Astana-based KTZ develops, operates and maintains railway transportation within Kazakhstan and internationally. One hundred percent of its shares are owned by the Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund. The shareholder’s decision to change the board’s composition was made Dec. 14.

Kazakh telecommunications operator Kazakhtelecom will buy a 75 percent stake in mobile operator Kcell from Sweden’s Telia and Turkcell, the company reported Dec. 12. Telia and Fintur Holdings, jointly owned by Telia and Turkcell, will sell their share in Kcell for $615 million, said Kazakhtelecom Chief Executive Officer Kuanyshbek Yesekeyev when the announcement was made. The Kazakh anti-monopoly authority approved the transaction, which will be carried out this month. In 2015, Telia announced its retreat from Central Asian markets.  Following this deal, the company will have only its business in Moldova left to sell before its exit is complete.

Producers will be obliged to colour code fat, salt and sugar concentration levels on packaged products in Kazakhstan, said Kazakh Ministry of Healthcare’s Public Health Protection Committee Chair Zhandarbek Bekshin at Almaty’s Food Safety and Marking forum earlier this month. Marking products either green, red or yellow to indicate the amount of fat, salt and sugar in them will help inform customers about the products they are consuming. Bekshin indicated 35 to 40 grams of sugar is the norm for most products. Colour labelling has been introduced in France, the United Kingdom and the United States, and would mostly apply to beverage, confectionery, dairy, flour, meat and canned food production.

Air Astana’s first Embraer E190-E2 was delivered at a Dec. 19 ceremony in its Aviation Technical Centre, reports the airline’s press service. The aircraft is the first of five ordered from AerCap in 2017, with the remaining delivery from Brazil scheduled for 2019. It is also the first E2 to be delivered to an airline in the Commonwealth of Independent States. The carrier’s older Embraer E190s have operated since 2011 and will be replaced by the newer generation. The new generation features a snow leopard motif painted on the cockpit to draw attention to the wild cat native to southern Kazakhstan and threatened with extinction. The company has donated $10,000 to the Kazakh Zoology Association for this cause.

The first direct flight from Astana to Tajikistan’s Dushanbe was launched Dec. 14, a journey taking 1.5 hours and costing 44,000 tenge (US$118.59) or more, reports SCAT Airlines. Flights between the capital cities will run twice a week on Fridays and Sundays. Currently, flight capacity is 50 seats, but the use of a Boeing 737 will allow for a 120 to 140 seat capacity during summer flights. Convenient connecting flights with Kazakhstan’s cities will feature Almaty, Aktau, Shymkent and Ust-Kamenogorsk. This year, the carrier additionally launched eight new flights as part of its contribution to the development of Kazakh tourism.

Kazakhstan ranks 44th in the world for this year’s online gaming revenue, according to Newzoo’s 2018 Global Games Market Report. The country’s annual game revenue is $183 million; it ranked 46th in 2017. The ranking is topped by China with $34.5 billion in revenue, the United States with $31.5 billion and Japan with $17.7 billion. This year, the global games market value has grown by more than 10 percent, bolstered by the greater use of mobile devices.