No People's IPO for Air Astana in near future: Samruk Kazyna
Air Astana has no immediate plans to float its shares in the People’s IPO in Kazakhstan, Tengrinews reports referring to the Department of Public Relations of Samruk-Kazyna National Wealth Fund.
Kazakh government-owned Samruk-Kazyna holds 51% in the airline, with the remaining 49% belonging to BAE Systems, a British multinational defence, security and aerospace company.
"Air Astana is not planning to sell its stock via a stock exchange or the People's IPO at this point. (...) The controlling stake in Air Astana (51 percent) should remain in the ownership of the government," the Fund said adding that it would consider floating some of its stock only in case its share in the company increased.
Besides, the Fund said that stability of ownership and shareholder's structure was one of the terms of the loan agreement with German credit insurer Euler-Hermes that participated in funding of procurement of new Airbus airplanes by the airlines. To comply with the terms "Samruk-Kazyna is not supposed to increase, and BAE Systems is not supposed to decrees their shares," the fund explained.
Earlier Western media cited President of Air Astana Peter Foster as saying in London that the company was planing to make an IPO in 2-3 years and was getting ready to expand. He assured that all the company's shareholders agreed that Air Astana had to make an IPO.
Besides, the company has been regularly paying dividends, which can also be viewed as an attempt to build up confidence of future investors. In 2012 and 2013, Air Astana paid 30-35% of net profit as dividends: $17.4 million in 2012 and $14.7 million in 2013. In 2013, its revenues made around $801 million, and net profit made around $43 million.
In 2013 Air Astana also announced its intention to float at least 20% of its stock within the People's IPO in Kazakhstan. However, the placement was postponed, because Samruk-Kazyna National Wealth Fund and BAE System failed to agree on the terms of the sale.
Air Astana is Kazakhstan's number one airlines that makes flights to 60 destinations from its main hub, the Almaty International Airport, and from two of its 2 secondary hubs: the Astana International Airport and the Atyrau Airport.
The People's IPO project in Kazakhstan was launched two years ago. It started with floating of 35 million common shares of KazTransOil, an state-owned oil transportation company, that were purchased by 34,000 Kazakhstanis. The price per share made 725 tenge (around $4.83 at the exchange rate of that time). The company raised more than 38 billion tenge ($253.3 million) through the IPO.
Reporting by Azhar Ashirova, writing by Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina