By Claire Nuttall of bne
A campaign against plans by the Kazakh government to overhaul the pension system is gathering pace, in a rare instance of public discontent in the autocratic Central Asian state.
The campaign began last month after labour minister Serik Abdenov (pictured) became a figure of fun after unsuccessfully trying to defend plans to increase the retirement age for women from 58 to 63 at a public meeting in the industrial town of Temirtau. Continue reading »
Another strand is playing out in the saga over Kazakh oil and gas: the government in Astana has decided against increasing its stake in the enormous Kashagan oil field as ConocoPhillips exits the project.
None of the other international majors involved appear willing to increase their exposure to what is turning out to be the world’s most expensive oil development, ever. That leaves Kazakhstan to play India and China off against each other for access to Kashagan’s vast oil reserves. Continue reading »
When KazMunaiGas muscled into the Karachaganak oil and gas field in 2011, international oil majors had no choice but to dilute their shares in the hugely profitable project to make way for Kazakhstan’s state oil company. At the time it was understood that KMG’s participation would clear the way for Kazakhstan to sanction the third phase of Karachaganak’s development and allow production to surge at the field. That now appears to be have been optimistic: in a surprise move this week, KMG said the expansion plan had been put on ice. Continue reading »
Another bolt from the blue for oil producers in Kazakhstan.
Customs duties on crude oil exported from the central Asian country are to rise by 50 per cent later this month in a move that underscores the unpredictability of the tax regime. Continue reading »
Kazakh copper miner Kazakhmys saw its stock plunge as much as 14 per cent in London on Tuesday after it announced a $2.22bn charge on its stake in fellow Kazakh resources group ENRC.
Even after investors digested the news, the stock stood nearly 10 per cent down. But why is the market acting so surprised? Kazakhmys warned a month ago that it would write down the ENRC stake’s value, and ENRC, which is itself London-listed, last week announced a write-downs on operations. Anyone with a calculator could work out the impact on Kazakhmys. So what’s going on? Continue reading »
Kazakhstan will issue 150bn Tenge ($996m) of eurobonds this year in its first venture onto international capital markets in over a decade.
The oil-rich central Asian country said it would take advantage of historically low foreign borrowing costs to help plug a budget deficit and set a benchmark for Kazakh corporates hoping to raise funds in 2013. Continue reading »
Nursultan Nazarbayev has always taken pride in the privately-run pension system he introduced in the late 1990s that set Kazakhstan apart in the former Soviet Union as a pioneer of financial reform.
However, in a policy U-turn this week that has set investors worrying, the Kazakh president (pictured) has decided to nationalise the pension system and transfer the approximate $20bn of funds accumulated into the trusty hands of the central bank. While the details were not immediately clear, the move has triggered concerns among fund managers and their clients. Continue reading »
By Clare Nuttall of bne
More and more multinationals are entering the pharmaceuticals sector in Kazakhstan, drawn by steadily growing demand. The government wants to accelerate the process and officials are busy negotiating with foreign companies, urging them to come. But its target of boosting domestic pharmaceutical production to 50 per cent of consumption by 2014 still looks over-ambitious. Continue reading »
After Megafon, another opportunity to invest in CIS telecoms: Kcell, Kazakhstan’s biggest mobile telephone operator, expects to raise $525m-$650m in an initial public offering. Continue reading »
On the face of it, ONGC‘s decision to splash out $5bn on a minority share in the giant Kashagan oil field in Kazakhstan makes sense, given the Indian national oil company’s pressing need to build up strategic oil reserves. But analysts dissecting the company’s most expensive ever overseas acquisition say the deal is fraught with risk and smacks of desperation. Continue reading »
ConocoPhillips is in the middle of a long-standing streamlining programme, so there was little surprise on Monday when it announced the disposal of a chunky $5.5bn asset – its stake in Kazakhstan’s vast Kashagan field.
But the buyer’s name came as a shock. Given the enthusiasm of president Nursultan Nazarbayev (pictured) for Kazakhs to own more of the country’s mineral wealth, it had been expected that ConocoPhilips might sell to a Kazakh state group – for example, KazMunaiGas, the energy company, which expressed an interest only last month. Instead the purchaser is ONGC, the Indian state oil group. Continue reading »
Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan, has accepted the resignation of his prime minister Karim Massimov (pictured) and given him a new job as head of the presidential administration. Massimov’s departure from government will trigger a cabinet reshuffle, but the changes will probably leave unanswered the central question in Kazakh political life of who will succeed the 72-year old Nazarbayev. Continue reading »
By Raffaello Pantucci
What do you do about attracting investment if you are a remote corner of China, best-known internationally for your ethnic tensions?
If you are Xinjiang, you invest heavily in a blockbuster economic exhibition. Urumqi is this week hosting its second annual China-Eurasia Expo, opened this year by premier Wen Jiabao, a clear upgrade from last year’s star host, vice premier Li Keqiang.
Leaders and/or ministers from seven countries flew in, giving credence to Wen’s claim that the Expo aimed ‘to build a new bridge of friendship and cooperation across the Eurasian continent…and make Xinjiang a gateway.’ But it’s along way from prime ministerial declarations to the investment that Xinjiang badly needs. Continue reading »
For a time it looked as if Bombardier, the Canadian train and airplane maker, had fallen behind the foreign competition seeking deals in the Russian transport sector.
But the Toronto-listed company is now playing catch up clinching an agreement with Uralvagonzavod, the state-owned rail car manufacturer, to help modernise Russia’s ageing city transport fleets. Continue reading »
Is geopolitical risk in the eye of the beholder?
Nord Gold, which earlier this year separated from Russian steelmaker Severstal, is among the newest listed gold miners in the world. And with operations in Russia, Kazakhstan, Burkina Faso, and Guinea – and a desire to expand its portfolio of emerging market gold assets further – it is probably not for the faint hearted. Continue reading »