Business news in brief

Korean confectionery Lotte Confectionery has acquired 92.44 percent of Kazakh confectionary Rakhat, reports Kapital.kz. The total market value of Rakhat shares is 25.2 billion tenge (US$67.66 million). The company, operating since 1942, is the country’s leader in the market of chocolate and sweets confectionary. Products are exported to Afghanistan, China, Germany, Mongolia, Russia and Tajikistan. Last year’s gross revenue was 10 billion tenge (US$26.85 million). Lotte Confectionery, founded in 1967 in Seoul, is part of the Lotte Group and produces more than 200 products in its factories in Daejeon, Pyeongtaek, Seoul, Siheung and Yangsan.

Nikolay Mechsheryakov was appointed chair of Tsesnabank’s board of directors, replacing Kairat Satylganov, while Yerzhan Tadzhiyakov, who joined the board of directors in June 2018, was dismissed. The bank’s board of directors now consists of Eduard Babayan, Nikolay Mechsheryakov, Ulan Baizhanov, Ulf Wokurka and Viktor Fogel. Mechsheryakov, a graduate of Chelyabinsk Polytechnic Institute, joined the bank’s board of directors in November 2008 and was appointed chair of the board of directors of Financial Holding Tsesna in October 2018. Tsesnabank was founded in 1992 and provides corporate, small-to-medium enterprise, insurance and retail banking products.

Forbes Kazakhstan named Serikzhan Seitzhanov business person of the year for 2018. He heads Ontustik, South Oil Company, Smart-Oil, Munay Kurylys Servis, Central Asia Mining, Talas Investment and the Rixos Khadisha Shymkent Hotel. Last year, he occupied 17th place on the magazine’s list of Kazakhstan’s 50 wealthiest businesspeople with $331 million. Six years prior, he was ranked 31st with $178 million. Most recently, he began building petrochemical plants and the five-star Rixos Khadisha Turkestan Hotel. The latter will cost 10 billion tenge (US$26.85 million) and will feature 120 hotel rooms.

A new low-cost airline will make short-haul flights across Kazakhstan, said Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev at an Akorda meeting in late December 2018. Air Astana’s low-cost unit FlyArystan will launch in the first half of 2019 and serve both domestic and international flights over short distances, including, possibly, Tashkent and Bishkek. He noted that the airline’s flights will be two times cheaper and feature more seats and less luggage space. Low-cost carriers usually feature lower fares, online ticket sales and check-ins, a single passenger class, a single aircraft type and employees working multiple roles.

The number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) increased by 21.9 percent, their production volume grew by 17.1 percent and the number of persons employed increased 6.2 percent in the capital, reports the Astana Akimat (administration). This is the outcome of the Business Roadmap 2020 programme, which contributes to business sector development by supporting export-oriented industries and new initiatives by SMEs with state-subsidised loans. It approved 1,028 projects for 177.3 billion tenge (US$476.05 million) since 2010, including 132 projects for 32.3 billion tenge (US$86.73 million) last year.

More than 27,000 suppliers have registered with the Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund’s new e-procurement service, Zakup.sk.kz, reports Kazinform.kz. The platform consolidates the procurement process online, featuring procurement planning, supplier selection procedures, contract conclusions, reports and analyses. For example, procurement plans are generated in an electronic format, posted on the platform and approved with customers’ electronic signatures. The use of electronic contracts reduces the likelihood for corruption and the contract conclusion time to one to 10 days. Another new procurement method, an electronic store, will be launched this year to simplify the process for customers’ goods purchases.