ALMATY, July 4 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
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)