, the British investing website, recently highlighted the stock of KazakhMys, which went public earlier this year. As the article points out, KazakhMys is an interesting experiment on the London Stock Exchange. As the annual report of KazakhMys
points out, the company is the first in the CIS to be featured on the prestigeous FTSE 100
, which is an index of the 100 largest companies on the London Stock Exchange, and it is the tenth largest miner of copper in the world. What makes KazakhMys particularly interesting, however, is that it is one of several large holdings in Kazakhstan that have gone public despite a history of "less than transparent" ownership and business dealings. A person who had been involved in the infamous privatization process of Kazakhstan once told me without reservation that KazakhMys was owned by none other than Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Andrey Grozin, a Russian analyst of Central Asian Affairs and head of the Central Asian and Kazakhstan Section of the Institute of the Countries of the CIS, however, had suggested last November
that the company is controlled by Nurtay Abykayv (as the head of a "Korean Clan" within Kazakhstan's elite). The only thing that seems certain is that very few people believe that the company's official owner, Vladimir Kim, really controls the company. Furthermore, there is apparently an increasingly close alliance/relationship between whoever actually controls KazakhMys and the extremely powerful Eurasia Group of Alexander Mashkevich. As the article from ThisIsMoney.co.uk notes, almost simultaneous with the public offering of KazakhMys on the London Stock Exchange, the Eurasia Group offered an exclusive deal to Vladimir Kim to buy 25% in a holding company that controls much of Eurasia Group's fortune. If the board of KazakhMys agrees, this share in the Eurasia Group can be transferred to the shareholders of KazakhMys for a 10% markup, allowing Kim (or whoever is behind Kim) to make a cool 39 Million Pounds Sterling by selling stocks back to his own company.
Whoever controls KazakhMys, a few things are clear: 1) it is controlled by very important people who have no interest in hindering its growth; 2) it is quickly becoming a legalized vehicle for moving and sharing capital within Kazakhstan's elite; and 3) it is making alot of people very wealthy. Given these factors, even recent accusations against Nurtay Abykayev with regards to his involvement in the murder of Altynbek Sarsenbayev
are unlikely to hinder this company. But, if there ever is a significant change in leadership in the country, it may also be KazakhMys that is among the first assets to be contested. Until then, as ThisIsMoney.co.uk notes, the company is also making alot of new international shareholders fairly happy.