Zhaikmunai’s £1.5bn London float imminent

Suzie Neuwirth
KAZAKH oil and gas explorer Zhaikmunai’s long-awaited £1.5bn London flotation may launch as soon as this month, City A.M. understands.

A final decision on the timeframe has not yet been made, but it is thought that the company could feasibly list on the main segment of the London Stock Exchange in the next few weeks.

Zhaikmunai has traded global depositary receipts (GDRs) – bank certificates issued for shares in overseas companies and traded as domestic shares – in London since 2008.

The company is not planning to raise new capital from the listing but it is hoped that a flotation would enhance the firm’s liquidity by opening it up to institutions that cannot invest in GDRs.

Zhaikmunai was bought by Belgian entrepreneur Frank Monstrey in 2004. In 2009 he sold a stake to KazStroyService (KSS), which is controlled by Timur Kulibayev, the son-in-law of Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Indian businessman Arvind Tiku. Lakshmi Mittal, the founder of steel maker Arcelor Mittal, owns a stake in KSS.

Zhaikmunai’s public offering comes as fellow Kazakh firm ENRC, the scandal-tainted miner, prepares to delist from the FTSE 250 as it is taken private by its owners amid allegations of corruption and an ongoing criminal probe by the Serious Fraud Office.

It is thought that Zhaikmunai hopes its solid balance sheet and scandal-free reputation from five years of trading GDRs in London will help distance itself from such firms.

Zhaikmunai said on Friday that it would be holding a shareholder meeting on 29 November, to approve the changing of its name to Nostrum Oil & Gas, although this will not impact progress of the public offering.

Deutsche Bank is reportedly leading the float, according to the Sunday Times, with Russia’s VTB Capital also advising on the deal.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment and VTB Capital was unavailable for comment.