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Ten state-owned companies were initially chosen to participate, but to date only Kaz Trans Oil, the Kazakhstan oil transportation company, and KEGOC, the Kazakhstan electricity grid operating company, have conducted IPOs under the programme.
The share of state ownership and participation in the economy of Kazakhstan remains substantial.
According to the London Stock Exchange, there are currently 17 Kazakhstan companies (including non-Kazakhstan companies with assets and operations principally in Kazakhstan) which have their equity securities listed in London.
Following the listing of Russian aluminium company Rusal in Hong Kong in 2010, there had been views in the market that Hong Kong could replace London as the listing venue of choice for international IPOs by Russian companies.
It is currently unclear what destination will be the preferred listing venue, although two likely options are London and Hong Kong.
The administration of AIFC was registered in December 2015, but the registration of AIFC’s participants is not expected to start until July 2017, with AIFC expected to be fully operational in time for the planned privatisation IPOs, with the AIFC exchange expected to be ready to launch its first trades in equities by September 2017.
The AIFC is expected to have the following characteristics, which will be attractive to international investors: (i) a legal regime be based on English law principles or the standards of leading international financial centres; (ii) adjudication of disputes by an independent AIFC court (consisting of a trial and appellate court) and the International Arbitration Centre; (iii) a preferential tax regime; (iv) simplified registration, visa and labour regimes for participants and employees of the AIFC; (v) a special, i.e., more liberalised, currency control regime; and (vi) English language as the working language of AIFC and its bodies.
The AIFC’s key pillars will be capital markets, asset management, private banking, Islamic finance, financial technologies and ‘green’ finance.
However, dual domestic listings on AIFC and KASE may be a possibility.
The AIFC is intended to become a financial hub for the CIS region and Western and Central Asia (similar to the Dubai International Financial Centre for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia).
Among other things, the plan aims to decrease the share of Kazakhstan’s GDP represented by state owned or controlled entities (and entities affiliated with them) to 15 percent of GDP by 2020.