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Kazakhstan: Corporates eye deals as sentiment revives

Miners mull expansion capital transactions; Key oil company considers equity issue

Strengthening investor sentiment towards resource-rich Kazakhstan has created a number of funding opportunities for the Central Asian republic’s corporates. However, it has not all been plain sailing. The country’s leading mining company, Eurasian Natural Resources Corp, was forced to pull a planned Eurobond sale in May as investors demanded higher yield levels for riskier securities in the wake of the continued European debt crisis. ENRC, rated Ba2/BB+ by Moody’s and S&P, had mandated Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley to lead manage a debut issue off a $3 billion Euro-MTN programme and had held investor meetings.

Kazakh state-owned uranium producer Kazatomprom was luckier and achieved better than expected terms for its maiden Eurobond. Initially marketed at a yield of 6.75%, the $500 million issue was eventually priced at 6.5% on the back of $4 billion of orders from over 200 accounts. Kazakh investors bought 10% of the issue, US accounts 45.9%, European buyers 42.6%, and Asian investors came in for 1.4%. Unusually the Eurobond, which is listed in Almaty and in London and was led by JPMorgan and BNP Paribas, was issued by the company directly, rather than through a Dutch special purpose vehicle that has been the most common format for Kazakh issuers.

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