Kazakhstan Chamber of Commerce in the USA

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Kazakhstan Daily News Roundup – May 26, 2011 0

Posted on May 26, 2011 by KazCham

Kazakhstan Daily News Roundup – April 28, 2011 0

Posted on April 28, 2011 by KazCham

Kazkommertsbank to issue Eurobond in May
(SRI) – Kazakhstan’s largest lender, Kazkommertsbank, plans to issues medium-term dollar-denominated debt after May 2, the bank said in a statement on Wednesday.

Alliance in talks with EBRD about possible stake sale
(SRI) – Alliance Bank, Kazakhstan’s sixth-largest lender by assets, confirmed on Wednesday that it was holding talks with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) about the possible sale of a stake in the bank.

ENERGY:

MIE Holdings to issue notes to fund Kazakh acquisition (SRI)

Max Petroleum signs drilling rig contract with Saipem (SRI)

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY:

Alliance Bank says capital shortage owes to accounting systems
(Bloomberg) – State-controlled Alliance Bank, Kazakhstan’s sixth-largest lender by assets, said a KZT105 billion ($722 million) capital shortfall noted by auditors resulted from discrepancies in accounting standards.

Planned bad-loan fund could issue bonds worth $1 billion – Marchenko
(SRI) – A planned bad-loan fund may issue bonds worth KZT150 billion ($1.03 billion) to buy unsecured non-performing assets from Kazakhstan’s banks, central bank chairman Grigoriy Marchenko said on Wednesday.

Cash squeeze threatens bounce in Kazakh wheat crop (Agrimoney.com)

Indicators – April 27, 2011 (Reuters)

METALS AND MINING:

ArcelorMittal Kazakh mine fire forces evacuation of 319 workers (Bloomberg)

Frontier Mining restarts operations at Koskuduk early due to good weather (Proactive Investors)

POLITICS:

India courts a distant Kazakhstan (World Politics Review)

Shanghai Cooperation Organization ministers to meet in Kazakhstan (RIA Novosti)

REGIONAL:

China lends Turkmenistan $4 billion for gas field

(AFP) – Energy hungry China has given Turkmenistan a loan of $4.1 billion (three billion euros) to develop a gas field and boost exports, the state gas company Turkmengaz said Tuesday.

SOURCE: http://silkroadintelligencer.com/2011/04/28/kazakhstan-daily-news-roundup-april-28-2011/

Kazakhstan Daily News Roundup – April 27, 2011 0

Posted on April 27, 2011 by KazCham

ENERGY:

Former Deputy Minister named head of MangistauMunaiGas
(SRI) – Asset Magauov, former Deputy Minister of Oil and Gas, has been appointed the new head of MangistauMunaiGas, a subsidiary of Kazakhstan’s national oil and gas company KazMunaiGas.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY:

BTA wrote off $3.3 billion in last 12 months
(SRI) – BTA Bank, Kazakhstan’s third-largest by assets, wrote off KZT481 billion ($3.3 billion) of loans in the 12 months to April 1, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

Sberbank aims to triple investment in Kazakhstan
(Reuters) – Sberbank’s Kazakh unit aims to grow net income this year by carving a larger niche in the local market and together with its Russian parent plans to boost investment in the country to almost $1 billion.

Kazakhstan said to seek sale of Alliance Bank stake to EBRD after bailout
(Bloomberg) – Kazakhstan wants to sell a stake in Alliance Bank to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), potentially making it the first of the Kazakh banks that defaulted during the financial crisis to attract an international investor, said three people familiar with talks.

Kazakhstan’s ATF Bank plans $276-million stock issue
(Reuters) – Kazakhstan’s ATF Bank , majority owned by Italian bank UniCredit SpA , plans to raise $276 million by issuing 7.66% of its ordinary shares.

EBRD extends trade finance guarantee facility to VTB Kazakhstan
(SRI) – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has extended a $20-million trade finance guarantee facility to VTB Kazakhstan.

Halyk Bank allocates $37.8 million for 2010 dividend
(SRI) – Halyk Bank, Kazakhstan’s second largest lender by assets, said on Tuesday it would allocate KZT5.5 billion ($37.8 million) from its 2010 net profit to pay dividends on its preferred shares.

Kazakh 2011 GDP growth may accelerate to 7% – Kelimbetov (Reuters)

National Bank of Kazakhstan: Exchange rates April 27, 2011 (Kazakhstan Today)

Indicators – April 26, 2011 (Reuters)

METALS AND MINING:

KazakhGold reduces net loss by 60% in 2010
(SRI) – KazakhGold, the Kazakhstan-focused subsidiary of Russian miner Polyus Gold, reported a net loss of $57.3 million in 2010, compared with a loss of $143.7 million in 2009.

SOCIETY:

High rollers hit Kaz Vegas, a far cry from Las Vegas (EurasiaNet)

REGIONAL:

Energy-rich Central Asia, Gulf states plan new rail route (Reuters)

Disappointed by West, Uzbekistan turns to China (AFP)

Turkmen president hosts horse beauty contest (AFP)

SOURCE: http://silkroadintelligencer.com/2011/04/27/kazakhstan-daily-news-roundup-april-27-2011/

Kazakhstan Daily News Roundup – April 19, 2011 0

Posted on April 19, 2011 by KazCham

Kazakhstan Daily News Roundup – January 27, 2011 0

Posted on January 27, 2011 by KazCham

HEADLINES:

Kazyna Capital prepares for investment spree in 2011
(bne) – Private equity in Kazakhstan has so far been small scale and sporadic, despite growing interest from global firms. But the creation of nine funds with government backing has suddenly made over $1 billion available for private equity investment and the task in 2011 will be to put this money to work.

Kazakhstan to sign currency swap agreement with China
(SRI) – Kazakhstan is close to signing a currency swap agreement with China to ease financial transactions and trade between the two countries, Dow Jones Newswire reported, citing Kazakhstan’s central bank chairman.

Alliance Bank expects to earn $246 million in 2011
(SRI) – Alliance Bank, Kazakhstan’s sixth largest bank, expects to earn KZT 36.1 billion ($246 million) in 2011, its first full year of operations following a complicated debt restructuring last year.

ENERGY:

Kazakhstan to adjust prices for fuels in accordance with Russian tariffs – KMG head (Interfax)

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY:

Outlooks on three Kazakhstan-based banks revised to stable (SRI)

No fundamental changes to tax laws in 2011 – Yergozhin (Interfax)

Kazakhstan injected over KZT3 trillion ($20 billion) in anti-crisis program in 2008-2010 (Interfax)

Long-term credit ratings for Kazakhstan banks (Reuters)

Indicators – January 26, 2011 (Reuters)

POLITICS:

Kazakhstan, U.S. to strengthen strategic partnership (RIA Novosti)

Kazakhstan takes measures to strengthen security at transport facilities (TREND)

SOURCE: http://silkroadintelligencer.com/2011/01/27/kazakhstan-daily-news-roundup-january-27-2011/

Back to Growth 0

Posted on January 05, 2011 by KazCham

As Kazakhstan emerges from the economic slowdown, the country is moving from strength to strength and is working to diversify and industrialize its economy. Clare Nuttall reports

THE UPTURN IN commodity prices in late 2009 was a considerable boost for the Kazakh economy, immediately creating confidence that the crisis was over. With the restructuring of debt at two top banks, the foundations are now being laid for future growth.

This optimism was vindicated in the first quarter of 2010, when according to government data, GDP grew by 7.1 percent year-on-year. “The major economic figures are positive,” says Grigori Marchenko, governor of the National Bank of Kazakhstan, the central bank.

Kazakhstan has maintained a high level of reserves thanks to the rise in oil prices. As of February 2010, the central bank’s net reserves were more than $27.5 billion, and the National Fund’s reserves more than $25.2 billion – totaling $52.7 billion. This was somewhat higher than the pre-crisis level of $47 billion despite the use of National Fund money to support the economy during late 2008 and 2009. In addition to injecting liquidity into the top four banks, the Kazakh government, through the Samruk-Kazyna state welfare fund, also provided a multi-billion dollar support package. Directed at sectors including real estate, agriculture and infrastructure, the package helped to shore up the economy and keep unemployment under control during the first three quarters of 2009.

The problems in Kazakhstan’s banking sector are now close to resolution, with an agreement on the restructuring of Alliance Bank’s debt already signed. The creditors of Kazakhstan’s largest defaulter, BTA Bank, were due to restructure the bank’s $10 billion of debt over the summer. It is expected to remove much of the uncertainty that plagued the market through 2009.

The government’s focus is now on encouraging banks to start lending again, in order to channel funds into the real economy. The country’s top banks including Halyk Bank, Bank CenterCredit, and ATF Bank have substantial liquidity but so far have been cautious about lending. “The key objective for 2010 is to motivate banks to lend again,” says Marchenko.

So far the economic recovery has been largely linked to higher commodity prices. In addition to oil and gas, Kazakhstan has also made progress with production of other commodities. It overtook Australia and Canada to become the world’s largest uranium producer in 2009, and data for the first

quarter of this year showed a 63 percent rise in uranium production. The country’s largest diversified mining companies ENRC and Kazakhmys also reported an increase, and are pushing ahead with major investment projects.

Within the oil and gas sector, the opening of two pipelines at the end of 2009 open up the potential for exports to China. The Kenkiyak-Kumkol oil pipeline links existing pipelines in Kazakhstan, making it possible to export oil from west Kazakh oilfields to China, as well as to deliver oil to South Kazakhstan. The Central Asia-China gas pipeline, which opened in December 2009, runs from Turkmenistan via Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to China.

While there have been some cutbacks to investment in the hydrocarbons sector, international investors have been under considerable pressure to keep up with their investment commitments. The massive offshore Kashagan development is due to start commercial production in 2012 and provide a major boost for the Kazakh economy.

The government has already given considerable thought to how to efficiently channel revenues from Kashagan into the wider economy. On January 21, President Nursultan Nazarbayev outlined plans to diversify and industrialize the economy in his annual state of the nation address, which set out the country’s development aims for the next decade.

“We need, first, to prepare the economy for the post-crisis development, then to achieve steady growth of the economy through forced industrialization and infrastructure development,” Nazarbayev said in his address.

“Thirdly, to actively invest in the future to achieve competitiveness of our human capital, fourthly, to provide Kazakhstani citizens with quality social infrastructure, housing and utilities. Fifthly, we must strengthen international cooperation, increase our national security, and further develop international relations.”

Some $8 billion is due to be transferred each year from the Nation Fund to the budget, with most of the money due to be used for industrialization programs; 162 projects, with a total cost of 6.5 trillion tenge, have been identified. The main aims include the upgrade of Kazakhstan’s existing petrochemicals plants, the construction of a new gas processing plant, and the completion of new power stations at Balkhash, Moinak and Ekibastuz. Development targets for the processing, agriculture, industry, energy and transport sectors have also been set.

“In the past there have been various diversification programs that for one reason or another did not succeed. The newly announced program is more promising,” says Michael Weinstein, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s country director for Kazakhstan. “The priority sectors Nazarbayev has selected are the right ones. Rather than looking at high-tech sectors, the government is targeting sectors such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals, petrochemicals, metals, construction materials and fertilizers – the things the country needs.”

In addition to state funding, the government also hopes to attract foreign investment for key projects. The country already has a long-term goal of entering the top 50 countries on the World Bank’s Doing Business index (in 2010 it was in 63rd place). There are also specific plans to cut the cost of starting a business by 30 percent in the 2010 financial year.

Kazakhstan is in discussions with around 70 companies presently looking to sign new deals in the country, according to Timur Nurashev, chairman of the investment committee within the Ministry of Industry. “There are large and medium-sized companies, in chemicals, tourism, food production, machinery, metallurgy, light manufacturing and consumer products, who are really interested in investing,” he says. “They are American, Turkish, Korean, European and Chinese.”

A new law on special economic zones (SEZs) is currently being drawn up and is due to be considered by the Kazakh parliament within the next six months. A new SEZ for metallurgy may be built in the northern city of Pavlodar, and a second on the Chinese border.

In January, Kazakhstan became a founding member of the Customs Union, also comprising Russia and Belarus. It is hoped this will encourage investment to international firms planning use the country as a base for the entire common market. The government is also planning to continue with negotiations to enter the World Trade Organization.

“Kazakhstan is a good platform for companies to enter the Russian market,” says Nurashev. “We are positioning Kazakhstan not only as a market of 16 million, but 170 million with Russia and Belarus. It is also a gateway to the Central Asian region.” ?

Clare Nuttall is an Almaty-based correspondent for Business New Europe.

SOURCE: Invest in Kazakhstan 2010.

Kazakhstan Daily News Roundup – August 11, 2010 0

Posted on August 11, 2010 by KazCham

HEADLINES:

Alliance posts $2 billion H1 profit on restructuring
(SRI) – Alliance Bank, one of Kazakhstan’s recently restructured banks, posted a net profit of KZT298.9 billion ($2 billion) in the first half of 2010, mainly driven by income resulting from its debt restructuring.

Kazakh mining association opposes export tariffs
(SRI) – The Kazakhstan Association of Mining and Metallurgic Enterprises (AMME) has criticized the introduction of a minerals export tax and said that a profit-based tax would be preferable.

ATF Bank reports $120 million H1 loss
(SRI) – ATF Bank, Kazakhstan’s fourth-largest bank, posted a net loss of KZT17.6 billion ($120 million) in the first six months of 2010, compared to a net profit of KZT3.2 billion ($22 million) in the same period of 2009.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY:

Moody’s assigns B3 to subordinated bonds of Kazinvestbank; stable outlook (Moody’s)

Accounts Committee critical of Air Astana performance (Interfax)

Mineral resource companies to start using electronic procurement system from October 1 (Interfax)

National Bank of Kazakhstan: Exchange rates August 11, 2010 (Kazakhstan Today)

METALS AND MINING:

Kazakhaltyn may stop work from August 16 over frozen accounts (RIA Novosti)

SOURCE: http://silkroadintelligencer.com/2010/08/11/kazakhstan-daily-news-roundup-august-11-2010/

Kazakhstan’s Lenders Won’t Sell Bonds Overseas This Year, Government Says 0

Posted on July 27, 2010 by KazCham

Bloomberg, By Nariman Gizitdinov

Kazakhstan’s banks won’t sell any bonds abroad this year, removing the need for the government to create a benchmark for its fixed-income markets by selling debt on international capital markets, the Finance Ministry said.

The ministry said July 20 it canceled plans to sell as much as $750 million of bonds to investors outside its borders this year after obtaining a $1 billion loan from a World Bank unit.

BTA Bank, Alliance Bank, AO Astana Finance and Temirbank, then controlled by BTA, defaulted last year, leaving about $20 billion in debt to be restructured. State-controlled Alliance and Temirbank have completed their debt restructuring efforts, and BTA struck a deal with creditors in May.

Kazakhstan “is studying the possibility of selling Islamic bonds,” Finance Ministry spokeswoman Anna Zhekenova said by telephone from Astana today, without elaborating.

Kazakhstan wants to tighten environmental safety requirements on Royal Dutch Shell’s giant offshore Kashagan development in the wake of BP’s ongoing Gulf of Mexico disaster, in a further sign that the blow-out will increase the cost of oil projects worldwide.

Sauat Mynbayev, Kazakhstan’s Minister of Oil and Gas said: “It’s clear that we need the consortium members to take seriously the signals from the Gulf of Mexico event, and it’s clear that going forward, environmental issues will find their expression not simply in making more environmental constraints.”

Kashagan’s total expected costs have already ballooned from $57bn (?39bn) to $136bn, making it one of the most costly projects under development anywhere in the world today. Further safety measures risk making costs blow out still further.

Mynbayev said that Kashagan was in some ways much simpler than BP’s Gulf of Mexico well: while BP is drilling at a depth of 1.5km, Kashagan is in such shallow water that it almost qualifies as an onshore field. The development is taking place on an artificial island in the North of the Caspian.

But he said that the dangers were in other ways greater. An oil spill in the land-locked Caspian could have more far-reaching environmental consequences as the oil would have nowhere to dissipate, and the extremely high concentrations of sulphur in the Kashagan reservoir mean that a leak would kill anything living nearby. “Obviously we must take all measures to make sure that that doesn’t happen,” he said.

Shell has a 16.8pc stake in the North Caspian Operating Company developing the field, alongside France’s Total, and Italy’s ENI, which is overseeing the development.

Kazakhstan Daily News Roundup – July 20, 2010 0

Posted on July 20, 2010 by KazCham

HEADLINES:

Max Petroleum to lose Astrakhanskiy block license
(SRI) – Max Petroleum Plc said on Monday the Kazakhstan government had notified the company about the termination of its subsoil use license for the Astrakhanskiy block after it failed to comply with work obligations.

German companies sign business deals worth $2.6 billion in Kazakhstan
(SRI) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel concluded a week-long tour across Central Asia with an official visit to Kazakhstan on Sunday, signing business deals worth more than EUR2 billion euros ($2.6 billion).

Fitch Upgrades Alliance Bank to ‘B-’ on completion of restructuring
(Fitch Ratings) – Fitch Ratings has upgraded Alliance Bank’s Long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘B-’ from ‘RD’ (Restricted Default), and assigned a Stable Outlook.

ENERGY:

Iran and Kazakhstan to establish oil workgroup (Steel Guru)

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY:

Kazakhstan gears up to issue first sukuk (Arab News)

Kazakhstan, Belarus scrap import duties on airplanes (RIA Novosti)

National Bank of Kazakhstan: Exchange rates July 20, 2010 (Kazakhstan Today)

METALS AND MINING:

Japan JOGMEC in pact to explore Kazakhstan minerals (Reuters)

SOCIETY:

Kazakh archeologists discover ancient Scythian “Sun Lord” (EurasiaNet)

Kazakh businessman to help independent weekly pay fine (RFE/RL)

REGIONAL:

Uzbek women accuse state of mass sterilizations (AP)

President’s daughter, 16, ‘new face of Tajik TV’ (AFP)

Turkey becomes global power in construction (AP)

SOURCE: http://silkroadintelligencer.com/2010/07/20/kazakhstan-daily-news-roundup-july-20-2010/

Alliance loses $2 billion in 2009 0

Posted on May 19, 2010 by KazCham

(SRI) – Alliance Bank reported a net loss of KZT299 billion ($2.03 billion) in 2009, compared to a loss of KZT386 billion ($2.63 billion) a year earlier, according to the bank’s financial statements.

Its assets declined KZT748 billion ($5.09 billion) to KZT419 billion ($2.85 billion) in 2009. Alliance ended 2009 with a negative capital of KZT526 billion ($3.58 billion).

Alliance, which was the first Kazakh bank to default on its debt in 2008, completed its debt restructuring in March, reducing its total debt to $1.1 billion from $4.6 billion. As a result of the restructuring, state-owned holding and investment company Samruk-Kazyna now holds a 67-percent stake in Alliance, while its creditors control the remaining 33 percent. Samruk-Kazyna is reportedly seeking a buyer for its stake in Alliance.

Alliance plans to begin borrowing abroad next year when international capital markets open for Kazakh lenders, Alliance CEO Maksat Kabashev said in March.

BTA Bank, Temirbank, and Astana Finance, three other lenders which had declared default in 2008, are still in negotiations with creditors, seeking to restructure a total of approximately $15 billion.

SOURCE: http://silkroadintelligencer.com/2010/05/13/alliance-loses-2-billion-in-2009/



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