Capital markets: Technicalities hamper Kazakhstan

The prospect of progress in Azerbaijan’s equity markets throws into sharp relief the recent lack of it in those of its Caspian neighbour Kazakhstan.

Long the local leader in debt capital markets development, in 2011 Kazakhstan looked set to become a regional equity powerhouse following the announcement by the country’s autocratic president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, of plans for extensive privatization.

Initial proposals for the People’s IPOs, as the programme became known, envisaged the sale of minority stakes in a dozen state-owned companies to local retail investors at a rate of two or three a year. Yet three years on, the only offering to make it to market has been a 10% stake in KazTransOil, which was sold by Kazakh sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna for KT27...