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KAZAKSTAN


 

 

In-depth Business Intelligence

Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 29,749 24,205 22,400 60
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 1,780 1,510 1,350 119
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

Books on Kazakstan

REPUBLICAN REFERENCE

Area (sq.km) 
2,717,300 

Population
15,143,704

Principal 
ethnic groups 
Kazaks 44.3%
Russians 35.8%
Ukrainians 5.1%
Germans 3.6%
and many others

Capital 
Astana
(formerly Akmola)

Currency
Tenge

President 
Nursultan Nazarbayev




Update No: 300 - (01/01/06)

Kazak president gains third term as observers attack ballot methods
Nursultan Nazarbayev secured a third term as president of Kazakstan with 91 per cent of the vote, in the latest election in a former Soviet state to be criticised by observers as falling short of international standards. The result gives an indication that the wave of pre-democracy revolutions that swept through Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan might be fizzling out, after the recent disputed parliamentary poll in Azerbaijan, but it is still too early to tell for sure. For various reasons, Kazakstan is a special case.
Preliminary results of the election gave Nazarbayev's main opposition challenger, Zharmakhan Tuyakbai, only 6.64 per cent, and a second opposition candidate, Aikhan Baimenov, a mere 1.65 per cent.
Tuyakbai denounced "unprecedented violations of the constitution and electoral laws" and suggested the vote showed that Kazakstan was "turning from an authoritarian regime into a totalitarian one." His campaign team pledged a legal challenge, and said it had sought official permission to hold demonstrations once a temporary ban on protests expired on December 14th.
An international observer mission led by the Organisation fro Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) found "some improvements" over Kazak parliamentary polls last year, where the opposition won only one of 77 seats. But it said the election did not meet a number of international standards, citing cases of multiple voting, ballot box stuffing and tampering with results.
Those assessments contrasted sharply with Nazarbayev's earlier pledges that the election would be fair, and his declaration recently that it was taking place in "unprecedented democratic conditions." He said Kazaks had voted for "calmness and stability." He added that promise political reforms would be his third-term priority.
The 90 per cent-plus vote puts the Kazak leader in the same bracket numerically at least as his autocratic central Asian neighbours, Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan and Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan. One European diplomat in Almaty, Kazakstan's biggest city, warned that the result and the observers' verdict could complicate Nazarbayev's ambitions to chair the OSCE in 2009.
Nazarbayev's "soft authoritarian" methods, however, along with fast-growing output from the country's vast oil and gas reserves, have delivered higher living standards and made Kazakstan the most advanced central Asian state.
Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, was the first foreign leader to congratulate Nazarbayev in a phone call. Russia's observer mission was one of several to declare the elections democratic; given its provenance, a dubious accolade. 

Profile of a benevolent despot and his clan
Nazarbayev, who is 65 years old, had humble beginnings, being a son of shepherds. A onetime steel worker, he earned the reputation of a reformer in Mikhail Gorbachev's Soviet Union. But he was also always determined and ruthless, those who know him say. "Even at university, when we'd all go off to the disco, he would stay behind working", recalls demographer Makash Tatimov, who studied with Nazarbayev in Ukraine. He assumed the presidency in 1989, two years before independence.
A Western diplomat who asked not to be identified said: "He's intelligent, certainly, but mercilessly tough."
The thirst to get ahead is evidently shared by the rest of the first family. Nazarbayev's eldest daughter, Dariga, is an opera singer who owned a media empire before starting her own political party. She is married to the deputy foreign minister and has long been rumoured to be preparing to succeed her father.
Another daughter, Dinara, controls a bank, while her husband, Timur Kulibayev, was until recently deputy chairman of the state-owned energy company Kazmunaigaz and now owns 95% of the Halyk Bank, the country's 3rd largest.
The third daughter, Aliya, is a luxury property developer and divorced from the son of neighbouring Kyrgyzstan's former president, Askar Akayev, toppled in a revolution last March.
Monopolizing politics by strong leaders is common across the ex-Soviet Union. Neighbouring Turkmenistan has a president for life. Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov allegedly ordered a massacre last May to restore control over a rebellious city. And across the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev, son of the former leader, is accused of rigging recent parliamentary elections.
But even critics admit that Nazarbayev is genuinely popular and has been canny in putting Kazakstan on the economic and diplomatic map. "He is probably one of the most pragmatic leaders in the former USSR. He's not emotional. He knows what the country needs", said Dosym Satpayev, director of the Risk Assessment Group.
According to Satpayev, Nazarbayev's ultimate goal is to convert the country's oil wealth into the kind of political clout that will make Kazakstan not only regional leader but a force to be reckoned with in the West. "They push the message the whole time that Kazakstan is not Central Asian but Eurasian". Western partners, such as the United States, hope that helping Nazarbayev will eventually steer him toward democracy. "The United States has started to divide Central Asia into soft and hard authoritarian regimes and they think that enlightened autocracies can be changed", according to Kazak political analyst Eduard Poletayev. 

                                                    ****
The following article reveals quite how rapidly things are developing in Kazakstan;-

Openness to the West lifting Kazak banks 
By Christopher Pala in The International Herald Tribune

This vast, sparsely populated country rooted in a nomadic culture might seem an unlikely place for a booming banking industry.
But with the economy growing by nearly 10 per cent a year for the past six years, Kazakstan's banks are posting strong profits and spectacular growth rates. This is attracting increasing attention from European banks wanting a stake in a country whose oil exports are expected to triple over the next 15 years.
Kazakstan did not sink into poverty upon gaining independence 14 years ago, as did most ex-Soviet republics. Instead it lured Western oil companies to invest billions of dollars in the huge but hard-to-reach deposits of the north Caspian basin that had been too challenging for Soviet oilmen, endowing the government with a growing flow of cash that has been complemented by large exports of metals.
As a result, the banking sector here has nearly attained the level of Eastern Europe's, without the outside help that East European governments received from the European Union, and without the takeovers of local institutions by West European banks that have transformed the East European financial landscape.
Corruption remains a serious problem in Kazakstan - Transparency International's index of 158 countries perceived as the most corrupt lists it tied for 107th - but analysts say that the banking sector has remained remarkably transparent.
"Banks are well-managed and well- regulated," said Pedro Rodriguez, the World Bank's chief economist for Kazakstan. But, he warned, "this spectacular growth rate is inherently destabilizing and the banks will need to be more closely inspected." 
According to some bankers, local lenders will also eventually need access to foreign capital if they are to sustain the economic boom by supplying an expected increase in demand for loans. In order to do so, they will either have to raise money by selling shares or acquire strategic partners.
The shareholders of local banks "might have deep enough pockets for today, but given the banks' growth rates, I wouldn't expect that situation to last forever," said Dan Connelly, the head of Citibank Kazakstan, which is not considering a local takeover and deals only in corporate finance.
Timur Issatayev, head of ATF Bank, the country's fourth-largest lender, called the foreign takeover process "inevitable." He said that his bank might be sold someday, but that no deals were imminent.
Jean Lemierre, president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the biggest non-oil investor in Kazakstan, said in an interview that he agreed foreign takeovers were inevitable, but that Kazakstan's "well-managed economy" might allow local banks to grow alongside foreign ones by offering their shares to the public.
Back in the chaotic early 1990s, banks sprouted like mushrooms. At that time, President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has ruled Kazakstan with a steady if increasingly autocratic hand since 1989, appointed and backed a team of eager young reformers to the country's fledgling central bank, forging a financial sector that has become the envy of Central Asia.
A common measure of a country's banking sector is its ratio of assets to gross domestic product. "Our ratio is 55 per cent and growing fast," said Grigory Marchenko, a widely respected former central bank governor who implemented many of the reforms. "Poland's ratio is 60 per cent and it's quite possible we will overtake them in a couple of years."
Kazakstan's banking sector has been expanding rapidly, with assets growing about 40 per cent a year, and has been extremely profitable, which is why there are few sellers, despite an abundance of potential foreign buyers. As far as is publicly known, there is just one seller, and it is offering only a blocking share: 25 per cent of its stock plus one share.
That bank is Halyk Bank, the country's third-largest. Descended from the old Russian national savings bank, Sberbank, it is Kazakstan's biggest retail lender, with 540 branches and the equivalent of US$4.1 billion in assets.
Halyk is one of the most profitable of the country's top five banks, with US$100 million in profit last year and a return on capital of 89 per cent, said Marchenko, the former central bank governor, who has become Halyk's chief executive.
He wants a European strategic partner to further streamline its operations, bringing in new products and up-to-date information technology systems.
But while his negotiations with potential partners have gone on for more than a year, so far they have failed to bridge a major difference in goals: The foreign banks want an option to buy a controlling stake in Halyk within a specified period, which is unacceptable to the shareholder who controls 94.6 per-cent of the stock, Marchenko said.
That shareholder is Timur Kulibayev, a son-in-law of Nazarbayev, who until recently ran KazMunaiGaz, the state oil company. Kulibayev is considered one of the most powerful and richest men in Kazakstan.
"Mr. Kulibayev does not interfere in the management, and all the dividends are added to the bank's capital, which is now growing even faster than our assets, and they grew by 57 per cent last year," said Marchenko. "I can't complain."
While he declines to give specifics on the negotiations, other bankers suggest that the buyers may simply have to accept that no bank worth buying is willing to give up control quite yet, and may have to settle for what many banks are settling for in China, with stakes as small as 10 per cent.
BNP Paribas, the French bank, is believed to be the front-runner in the negotiations with Halyk, according to bankers. A BNP Paribas spokeswoman in Paris, Carine Lauru, said the bank does not comment on possible takeover negotiations.
Marchenko declined to name the bank he believed most likely to close the deal, other than to say it was European.
"There are nine European banks that have plans to expand their business here in Kazakstan, of which only half are really serious," he said. "I've talked to all of them. Of these, two or three will do it."
Once a local bank starts offering new products and gets its information technology systems to European levels, "that would definitely change the competitive situation," he said.
But Magzhan Auezov, a managing director of Kazkommertsbank, the country's largest lender, is not so sure.
"Being controlled from a European capital may make them less flexible and lower their risk appetite," he said. "That's something we'll be watching."
Jurgen Rigterink, chairman of ABN AMRO Bank Kazakstan, said: "If Halyk sells, then I would expect that one or two others would be sold too."
Since neither of the top two banks, Kazkommertsbank and Bank Turan Alem, are looking for foreign partners at the moment, the likeliest targets would be a half-dozen second-tier banks with networks of 20 branches or so, according to Rigterink and others. But so far, none of these banks are publicly expressing any interest in selling.
"It's a good time to be a banker," said Auezov of Kazkommertsbank.
As for Marchenko, he said he was in no hurry. "Each month that negotiations go on, the value of the bank goes up," he said.

Opposition leader killed by three shots was a suicide, police claim
From Jeremy Page in Almaty

The wife of a leading opposition figure in Kazakstan found him sprawled in a pool of blood in the billiard room of his villa in Almaty. 
Zamenbek Nurkadilov had been shot twice in the chest, piercing his heart, and once at close range in the head, investigators say. By his side lay a cushion with two bullet holes in it. Yet three weeks on, police in the city are still treating the case as a suspected suicide. Which precisely describes the uselessness of the police as guardians of public order. It can safely be predicted that no convictions will follow this potential murder.
"It's unbelievable," his wife, the popular singer Makpal Zhunusova, told The Times. "How does a man shoot himself in the heart, then in the head, and then throw himself on the floor?" 
That is just one of many awkward questions being asked of the Government in this former Soviet Central Asian nation before Sunday's presidential election. 
The Opposition has linked Mr Nurkadilov's death to his criticism of President Nazarbayev, who has ruled since 1989 and is standing for a third seven-year term. 
Mr Nurkadilov was the Emergencies Minister and a close friend of Mr Nazarbayev until he switched sides last year and became his harshest critic. He once compared the President to Nicolae Ceausescu, the late Romanian dictator. 
"I see no other explanation for his death other than a political one," said Zharmakhan Tuyakbai, 58, a former Speaker of parliament who was the main opposition candidate. "It is dangerous to get involved in politics in Kazakstan." 
Critics accuse the President of restricting his four opponents' access to the media, harassing their supporters, closing opposition newspapers and plotting to falsify poll results. 
But even opposition leaders see little hope of staging a revolution such as those that engulfed Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan in the past two years. Mr Nazarbayev has vowed to crush any uprising and a new law bans protests before the election result is confirmed. 
The West appears as reluctant to encourage unrest here as it was in Azerbaijan after its flawed parliamentary elections. Western companies have invested billions of dollars in Kazakstan to secure access to oil supplies that will be shipped to Azerbaijan and then, via a new pipeline, to the Mediterranean. 
Kazakstan, the only Central Asian nation with troops in Iraq, is also of increasing strategic importance to the United States since it fell out with Uzbekistan over the massacre of anti-government protesters. 
Nevertheless, the Kazak Government's handling of Mr Nurkadilov's death and the election are raising grave questions about this emerging energy giant's future. 
The West has long regarded Mr Nazarbayev as a "soft", authoritarian leader who would eventually introduce democratic reforms. On a visit there recently, Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, said that Kazakstan "has a chance to be a real leader in Central Asia on both economic and political reform". 
Mr Nazarbayev has played to those expectations. "I want Kazaks to be rich," he told a rally. At the same time, he promised "a real modernisation of politics" and an "attack on corruption". 
He is also in the running to take over the chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which monitors elections in the former Soviet Union, in 2009. But that possibility will be scuppered if the OSCE criticises Sunday's poll, as happened. Western officials fear that Mr Nazarbayev will react by abandoning democratic reforms altogether and moving closer to Russia and China. 
He has pointedly ignored criticism of last year's parliamentary elections, which packed the legislature with his friends and relatives. 
He is widely thought to be grooming his daughter, Dariga, a former opera singer, to take over the presidency. She ran a media empire before founding her own party last year. Another daughter, Dinara, controls Halyk (People's) Bank, where the election commission holds the campaign accounts of presidential candidates. 
Opposition leaders accuse the Nazarbayev family of enriching themselves at the country's expense. They cite the trial in New York of James Giffen, a US businessman, accused of giving Mr Nazarbayev and his former Oil Minister US$78 million (about £45 million) in bribes in the 1990s. But Mr Nazarbayev has not allowed state media to air details of the case and is expected to clamp down further after the trial resumes in January. 
Some opposition figures see a link between the case and the killing of Mr Nurkadilov, who had founded an anti-corruption organisation. 
The police's handling of the Nurkadilov case and the state media's biased coverage suggest at best incompetence and at worst a cover-up. "I know my husband was afraid," said Mrs Nurkadilova, who has a three-year-old daughter. "Now I'm afraid that if I say something, they will kill me." 

Spin-doctors called in to take on Borat
By Jeremy Page

Kazaks, the tour guide said without a hint of a smile, do not drink fermented horse urine. Nor do they keep their wives in cages, punch goats or make homosexuals wear blue hats. 
Borat Sagdiyev, the spoof Kazak reporter portrayed by Sacha Baron Cohen, apparently does not have many fans here. So insulted was the Government when Borat hosted the MTV awards last month that it threatened to sue Mr Cohen, a British comedian. Now it is launching a public relations offensive to blow apart Borat's myths. It has hired at least two Western PR companies and this week published a four-page advertisement in The New York Times. 
There is plenty to brag about. In Soviet times Kazakstan was a backwater of desert and grassland used for testing nuclear bombs and launching space rockets; but since the Soviet collapse this country of 15 million people has emerged as the dominant power in Central Asia and is poised to become one of the world's top ten oil producers. 
Its economy has grown annually by 10 per cent since 2001. Last year more Kazaks many of whom are ethnic Slavs returned than left, making it the first former Soviet state to reverse a post-Soviet brain drain. This month it will begin its own space programme by sending a communications satellite into orbit. There are even a small number of Borat fans among the Westernised middle class. 
Kazakstan does have some features that raise Western eyebrows. Kazaks drink fermented mare's milk, eat horse meat and play bushkazi, which involves horseback teams fighting over a dead sheep - the origins of polo. 
The President spent US$500 million (£289 million) building a capital, Astana, in grasslands where temperatures reach 40C (105F) in summer and -40 in winter. Kazakstan is, by regional standards, a beacon of economic and political stability - even if its efforts to take on Borat seem only to backfire. 
This week he responded in character to the Government's threat. "I have no connection with Mr Cohen and fully support my Government's position to sue this Jew," he said. "Since the 2003 reforms, Kazakstan is as civilised as any other country in the world. Women can now travel on inside of bus, homosexuals no longer have to wear blue hats and age of consent has been raised to eight years old."

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ENERGY

Kazakstan vows to provide oil for Odessa-Brody 

Kazak President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, on November 18th said that "there will be no problem" with Kazakstan providing sufficient oil for the Odessa-Brody pipeline or in securing its delivery to Ukraine, New Europe reported. 
Nazarbayev replied to a question posed at a meeting in Kiev whereby he was asked where Kazakstan was going to find oil for the pipeline. "Negotiations are in progress concerning the Odessa-Brody pipeline. Should agreements be reached on delivery via this corridor, the Kazak side will take a positive view of it," he said.
A Kazak-Ukrainian venture has been set up to build a Ukrainian terminal in Odessa and for the laying of a 52-kilometres pipeline section, he said. The Odessa-Brody pipeline is currently used in reverse mode, with oil flowing from Brody to Odessa.
Recently, Alexander Todiychuk, chief executive of Ukrainian oil transportation company Ukrtransnafta said that the 2005 volume of Russian oil to be pumped through the pipeline would amount to about six million tonnes. Five million tonnes have already gone through the pipeline since the start of the year.
Ukraine has reiterated its proposal for Russia to use Dnieper trunk pipelines, which are vacant and use of which would be three Euro per tonne cheaper. At the same time, Russia has submitted a draft protocol to Ukraine under which up to nine million tonnes of oil are to pass through Odessa-Brody in 2006. 
In September, Oleksiy Ivchenko, first deputy fuel and energy minister and chief executive of national oil and gas company Naftogaz Ukrayiny, said the pipeline would start to be used for transmitting oil from Odessa to Brody in 2006 and that initially it would carry four million tonnes per year. 

Transneft tears agreement with KazMunaiGaz 

Transneft has pulled out of an agreement with KazMunaiGaz to offer the technical possibility of pumping 12 million tonnes of the Kazak company's oil over the next 10 years to Butinge, Lithuania, Transneft President, Semyon Vainshtok, said, Interfax News Agency reported.
Transneft removed its signature from the agreement because KazMunaiGaz did not fulfil its responsibilities to sign with the Russian government a protocol to an intergovernmental agreement between Russia and Kazakstan, Vainshtok said.
Transneft, in signing the agreement with KazMunaiGaz, only guaranteed that it was ready to offer technical support to pump this oil in the direction and timeframe set out in the contract, however in order for this contract to enter into force, changes needed to be made in the agreement between Russia and Kazakstan, he said.

Tengizchevroil will not export gas to China 

TengizChevroil, Kazakstan's largest oil producer, is not planning to export gas to China, Alexander Cornelius, the company's director general said, Interfax News Agency reported.
He said the company does not have any agreements to export gas to China. The company's gas is mainly sent along the gas pipeline that goes through Kazakstan. Some of the gas is delivered to Kazakstan and some to the world market, he said.
Kairgeldy Kabyldin, managing director of KazMunaiGaz, said in October that some gas from the Tengiz field will be used to fill the gas pipeline to China that is expected to be built in Kazakstan. He also said that TengizChevroil has held talks with Atoll, the owner of the Polypropilen plant and the Aktausk plastic mixture plant, on gas supplies under a programme to develop Kazakstan's petrochemical sector.
Cornelius said that the company is finishing up work on a memorandum of mutual understand to supply Atoll gas. TengizChevroil is doing everything possible to cooperate in resolving this issue with Kazakstan, he said. Atoll owns the SAT & Company Holding and Razvedka Dobycha KazMunaiGaz on a parity basis. The SGP expansion plans aim for the extraction of an extra 12 million tonnes of oil annually. In this way the company hopes to achieve production of about 25 million tonnes per year, he said. 
"We have already adopted some optimisation proposals within this project enabling volumes to increase by another two million tonnes," Cornelius said. The proposals may be introduced sometime in 2008 and production should grow to 27 million tonnes per year by 2010, he said.
TengizChevroil will produce 13.5 million tonnes of oil in 2005, 100,000 tonnes less than in 2004, Cornelius said. The reason for the decrease is entirely objective, he said. Certain installations were stopped during the year as required by law, he said. TengizChevroil has five oil and gas cleaning branches, four sulphur processing and gas cleaning branches and three gas rectification installations, which have to be stopped from time to time. In addition, the company had to repair or replace some equipment. TengizChevroil is also carrying out certain modifications to increase equipment reliability and this also requires production stoppages, Cornelius said adding that these factors influenced performance results. 
TengizChevroil, drills a quarter of Kazakstan's oil. It produced 13.6 million tonnes of oil and 4.7 billion cubic meters of gas in 2004. The company exports all the oil it produces via the Caspian Pipeline Consortium's pipeline. ChevronTexaco Overseas owns 50 per cent of TengizChevroil, ExxonMobil Kazakstan Ventures Inc, 25 per cent, Kazakstan's government 20 per cent (via KazMunaiGaz) and the Russian-US LukArco joint venture five per cent.

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FOREIGN LOANS

EBRD to lend 87.8m Euro for Kazak power line 

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will lend Kazakstan's national power utility KEGOC 87.8 million Euro for the North-South power transmission line project, the EBRD's Kazakstan office said in a press release. The EBRD said that the loan agreement was signed in Almaty on November 24th, New Europe reported.
This new transmission line allows the north of Kazakstan to transmit its surplus power to the more populated south of the country. This will both aid the development of a Central Asian regional energy market and by benefiting both populations and businesses based in the south, promote the diversification of Kazakstan's economy away from dependence on oil and gas. It was also reported that two substations will be expanded. This deal follows a 60 million Euro loan agreement signed last year for the first, 270 km of line between YukGres and Shu.
The EBRD will lend 52.8 million Euro with a tenor of 12 years and 35 million will be syndicated by Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich, Bayerische Landesbank, Calyon and Citibank and will be repayable in nine to 12 years. This commercial financing demonstrates KEGOC's ability to attract international commercial banks for long maturities on the basis of a domestically based security, said EBRD president Jean Lemierre at the signing ceremony. The Development Bank of Kazakstan is also lending another 53 million Euro and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development has agreed to provide a 100 million Euro sovereign-guarantee loan for the power line project.
KEGOC signed the loan agreement with the World Bank on November 22. This is a 17-year loan at LIBOR +0.5 per cent with sovereign guarantees and a grace period of five years.

Kazakstan may repay 849m Euro loans early 

Kazakstan may pay off 849 million Euro in sovereign loans this year ahead of schedule, Kazak finance minister, Arman Dunayev, said recently at a Cabinet meeting, reported Interfax News Agency.
"Given today's trends on the international forex market, and in order to sterilise surplus money supply, the finance ministry has decided to repay, ahead of schedule, the sovereign loans that cost the most to service. Early repayments will be 849 million Euro, equivalent to 111 billion tenges, this year," Dunayev said.
He said that would save the country 290 million Euro on future interest payments. "According to preliminary forecasts, the entire sovereign debt - both domestic and external - will be approximately 3.9 billion Euro at the end of the year, or 7.8 per cent of forecast GDP," he said. The ratio of sovereign debt to GDP has "fallen consistently" in recent years, Dunayev said. "This has fallen from 26.5 per cent in 2000 to around 8.8 per cent of forecast GDP by November 1st this year," he said.

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MINERALS & METALS

Mittal Steel to build pipe mill in summer 2006 

Mittal Steel intends to finish building a pipe mill in Aktau, Kazakstan, by the summer of 2006, Malay Mukherjee, Mittal Steel's chief operating officer said in Temirtau, where Mittal has a major steel mill, Interfax News Agency reported.
"The plant in Aktau, which will produce spiral seam, welded pipes, will be ready by the middle of 2006," Mukherjee said. 
Mittal said in a brochure distributed at the press conference that the pipe mill would be capable of producing 60,000 tonnes of pipe to international standards 457-1,422 millimetres in diameter, 5-19 mm thick and 6-13 metres long. Investment will total 35 million Euro. Work on the plant started in the summer of 2004.

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MINING

KazakGold raising US$176m via London flotation

KazakGold, the owner of one of Kazakstan's biggest gold miners, it to list on the London stock exchange on December 1st and will become the latest company from the former Soviet Union to come to the UK, the Financial Times reported.
KazakGold will sell 11.7m global depository receipts at US$15 each, raising US$176m (£102m) and giving the company a market value of about US$707m.
KazakGold is the parent company company of Kazakaltyn, which has been mining gold in northern Kazakstan since the 1920s. The proceeds will be used to expand the company's existing mines and pay off debts.
The company is wholly-owned by the Assaubayev family, who bought the then bankrupt mines from the Kazakstan government in 1999 for US$1m.
KazakGold was encouraged to list in London after the successful float of Kazakmys, Kazakstan's largest copper producer, in October. ING is managing KazakGold's listing.
Recently, Novolipetskm the Russian steel group controlled by billionaire, Vladimir Lisin, confirmed it would be listing in London. The company will sell about 7 per cent of existing stock in global depositary receipts. Reports suggested the sale could raise up to US$750m.

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TEXTILES

Textile cluster in Kazakstan 

Kazakstan the country on the positive transitional economic path is gearing up to streamline the future of the textile and clothing industry. With a lot of focus in Europe lately, much due to the liberalisation of this market, Kazakstan is emerging as one of the promising and fast emerging markets in the region, New Europe has reported. 
The Kazak government launched a new ambitious development plan for 2003-2015 for the industrial and innovative sectors aiming to ensure steady economic growth of 8-9 per cent and tripling GDP by 2015. This plan is absolutely essential for the successful completion of the country's industrialisation process. In order to promote diversification of the economy, Kazakstan has selected a cluster approach for accelerated development of the priority sectors, namely oil and gas mechanical engineering, transport and logistics, construction, metallurgy, IT, food industry, tourism, and textiles.
In one of the plan's key measures, based on the incentives granted by the state, a special economic zone called "Ontustyk" has been created in Southern Kazakstan to boost the country's textile industry potential. In full conformity with acting legislation, both foreign and domestic investors in special economic zones and priority sectors of the economy in Kazakstan may benefit from the lower corporate income tax (up to 50 per cent), property tax, land tax, and VAT for up to 5 years, grants-in-kind, custom duty exemptions. Foreign investments are not subject to nationalisation or expropriation. Businessmen are fully within their right to freely use revenues of their investment activities. 
The Kazak textile industry includes a group of light industries processing natural, synthetic, and artificial fibres into yarn and fabric. According to the National Statistical Agency's data, this industry's share in the GDP accounted for only 0.4 per cent compared to 6-12 in the developed countries. Total market share is around 10 per cent aiming to reach 30. Last years annual textile export hit US$4.6 million, with 16.4 thousand people involved in this industry. 
Yet Kazak companies and research institutes are not an integral part of the universal value-added chain, having little financial knowledge to commercialise their R&Ds. But the most important thing is that the situation is steadily improving, thanks to experience gained in this arena. In the 1990s, Kazakstan made wide concessions to foreign firms looking for new investment opportunities. 
The analysis of the Kazakstan investment climate, and the textile sector in particular, done by independent international institutions, as well as the countries, deserves extremely high credit sovereign ratings, has shown investors are mostly positive about it. Over a half of them are convinced that the Kazakstan market is attractive because of the following reasons: access to natural resources, the volume of this and neighbouring markets, as well as stable and strategic position of Kazakstan. The country has taken the pole position ahead of all other CIS countries drawing, after claiming independence US$42 billion. All this may bring potential investors more profits than in other markets. 
Since the Kazak government declared its support to serious international private sector partnership in the development of the textile industry in the coming years, European companies with their rich expertise, looking for new markets and thinking of their prospect investment destination, have a unique chance to bid for participating in this rather exciting race.

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