February 25, 2020 / 1:38 PM / a month ago

Kazakh financial firm Kaspi revives plans for London float - sources

LONDON, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Kazakh financial group Kaspi.kz is reviving plans for a stock market listing in London, hoping to benefit from a sharper appetite for share offerings, three people close to the matter said.

The group, which controls Kaspi Bank, the third largest bank in Kazakhstan where it is a leader in payment systems and e-commerce, could sell shares worth $500-$700 million, two of the sources said.

A number of successful secondary share sales have given issuers confidence that the market for initial public offerings (IPOs) is much improved from 2019, when European volumes fell to a seven-year low.

Kaspi.kz pulled its listing last year after investors balked at the valuation.

However, a source said the company had told potential investors during roadshows that it was expecting full-year numbers to support its aspirations for a better valuation than its current $2.4 billion market cap in Almaty.

The company reported in December a 61.4% rise in profits in the first nine months of the year. Full-year results are due on Wednesday.

“One of the reasons for postponing the IPO was to let people see the (full year) results and to illustrate how strong the digital payments business is”, the source said, adding that Kaspi is the market leader in this business.

Kaspi.kz’s management discussed the IPO plans with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev last week, according to his office.

“The registration document could be filed next week,” one of the sources said, adding that assuming stable market conditions over the next few weeks the deal could be launched in March or April.

“If things deteriorate because of concerns over the coronovirus, we are in no hurry,” the person added.

The rare Kazakh IPO could be followed by a second one this year. Kazakh state oil and gas firm KazMunayGaz said on Tuesday that it plans to float its shares in October or November.

According to central bank data, the volume of noncash payments with bank cards in Kazakhstan surged to 13.3 trillion tenge ($35.2 billion) in 2019 from 5.5 trillion tenge a year earlier.

In last year’s deal shareholders who had planned to sell down stakes in Kaspi.kz’s listing included Baring Vostok funds, Goldman Sachs, Kaspi.kz Chairman Vyacheslav Kim and Lomtadze.

Morgan Stanley, UBS, Citigroup and Credit Suisse were acting as joint global coordinators on the offering, along with Renaissance Capital as joint bookrunner. (Additional reporting by Mariya Gordeyeva in Almaty; Editing by Louise Heavens and Jan Harvey)

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