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Capital Markets

Kazakhstan: Property play proves popular investment

UK and continental European investors snapped up shares in Chagala Group, the leading property developer in oil-rich western Kazakhstan, enabling it to raise $120 million through an IPO on the main market in London last month.

Marketed via ING at $7.75 to $9.75 per global depositary receipt, the 12.35 million GDR offering (including the greenshoe overallotment option) was priced at the top of the range, valuing the company at just under $220 million. The shares rose by $1.25 or 13% to $11 on their first day of trading and have traded around that level despite the recent volatility in global equity markets. The IPO effectively doubled the number of outstanding shares and was split roughly 75% between new stock and the sale of secondary shares by seed capital investors who sold around a third of their pre-IPO holdings.

Founded in 1994, Chagala’s property portfolio has grown rapidly and now includes a diverse range of projects including hotels, apartments, offices, restaurants and shopping centres. Historically the firm has predominantly catered for expatriates working for such companies as BG, Eni, ExxonMobil and TotalFinaElf, which all operate in the Caspian Sea area, the hub of Kazakhstan’s offshore oil and gas exploration and production facilities.

Tim Abson, Chagala’s chief executive says: "The strong growth trajectory of the company tracks that of the oil and gas industry in Kazakhstan and over the last 12 years we have built up strong relationships with all the multinationals that operate here."

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