Kazakhstan's Halyk to complete state share buyback

ALMATY, July 4 Wed Jul 4, 2012 8:30pm IST

Stocks

   

ALMATY, July 4 (Reuters) - Halyk Bank , Kazakhstan's second-largest lender by assets, said it intended to buy back its remaining state-held shares on Thursday, in a sign of recovering health after the financial crisis.

Halyk, part-owned by the family of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, was among four Kazakh banks bailed out by the state via the country's sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna in 2009.

Its net profit of 16.8 billion tenge ($114 million) in the first quarter of 2012 was 58 percent up on the same period a year ago while its bad debt charges fell by more than a third.

Almex, a holding controlled by Nazarbayev's daughter Dinara and son-in-law Timur Kulibayev which holds the buyback option, owned 44.51 percent of Halyk shares as of April 1, 2012, according to data of the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange.

Samruk-Kazyna held 11.55 percent of shares, and minor Halyk shareholders another 9.59 percent.

The current free float of Halyk, which is listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange, is about 30 percent, a source close to the bank's management told Reuters.

On June 29, Halyk bought back from the state preference shares worth a total of around $181 million.

Halyk, which has said 46.2 million of its preference shares are still held by Samruk-Kazyna, said on Wednesday it was ready to pay around $56 million to buy them back.

"In line with its option agreement (with Samruk-Kazyna) ... the bank intends to realise its right to acquire its preference shares held by Samruk-Kazyna through a buyback," it said in a statement posted on the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

"The total volume of the shares to be bought back is no more than 46,232,499 at 180.21 tenge ($1.21) per share."

Samruk-Kazyna in 2009 bought 20.9 percent of ordinary shares in Halyk and 50.3 percent of its preference shares for a total of 60 billion tenge ($400 million).

In April 2011 Halyk and Almex bought out 19.8 percent of the ordinary shares from the state at around 33 billion tenge. (Reporting by Mariya Gordeyeva; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov)