Samruk Kazyna to Raise $300 Million in Air Astana IPO

ASTANA – The Samruk Kazyna Sovereign Wealth Fund aims to raise $300 million through the initial public offering (IPO) of Air Astana. The indicative price range for the IPO of securities has been set between $8.5 and $11 for global depositary receipts, said Samruk Kazyna Chairman Nurlan Zhakupov during the New Time program on the Jibek Joly TV channel on Jan. 30.

Photo credit: Air Astana.

Soon, shares of the company will be available for purchase. 

“Yesterday [Jan.29], we announced the roadshow and the book-building process. This involves management meetings with institutional investors and discussions about the business. Institutional and retail investors submit their applications for how many shares they want to purchase. Last Friday, the board of directors at Air Astana approved the price range for the shares being offered. We are offering global depositary receipts. There are four shares in one global depositary receipt,” said Zhakupov.

Air Astana, established in 2002, received an initial investment of $8.5 million from the state-owned fund.

Zhakupov highlighted the company’s financial achievements: “During its existence, Air Astana has paid dividends to us [Samruk Kazyna] of over $80 million and paid taxes of over $711 million. Today, if we compare the amount we invested in 2002 in creating Air Astana with the price range we now offer potential investors, the company’s value has increased 77 times.”

Concerning the privatization of Qazaq Air, Zhakupov emphasized the fund’s intention to continue in this direction despite the second competition not taking place.

In August of last year, Samruk-Kazyna conducted a two-stage auction for the sale of Qazaq Air, but the bidding did not take place due to a lack of bids. A subsequent competition for the sale of Qazaq Air shares was announced on Jan. 9 of this year, but it was also unsuccessful due to the absence of competitive bids meeting the conditions of the competition.

“The aviation industry is a very complex business, and there is huge competition in this industry. However, Qazaq Air remains within the scope of our privatization program. We do not exclude it and will continue this work further,” he said.

Zhakupov expressed optimism about the increased transparency and improved corporate governance resulting from the entry of Samruk-Kazyna subsidiaries into the market. 

“We already have public companies, like Kazatomprom, with a 25% stake, which are listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), the AIFC Exchange (AIX), and the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange (KASE). KazMunayGas and KEGOC are also part of our portfolio,” he said.

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