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Halyk takes the hot seat in Kazakhstan

Cautious Halyk Bank has been largely immune from the upheavals that have shaken the Kazakh banking sector; will buying troubled market leader KKB bring an end to the group’s bull run or create a new regional player?

Sweet proposition: The Halyk Bank logo on promotional chocolate bars

Kazakhstan’s biggest banks have a habit of coming to sticky ends. BTA Bank famously collapsed in the wake of the financial crisis and defaulted on $16.7 billion of external debt. Its former chief executive, Mukhtar Ablyazov, fled Kazakhstan in late 2009 and is wanted in multiple jurisdictions for fraud and embezzlement. 

Next to be hailed as a new national champion was Kazkommertsbank (KKB), which took over the remains of BTA in 2014 after a second default by the nationalized lender. The ink was barely dry on the deal, however, before the Kazakh economy was hit by the oil price collapse and a subsequent massive currency devaluation

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