April 23, 2018 / 12:13 PM / 3 months ago

JP Morgan, VTB to lead international listing of Kazakhtelecom: sources

LONDON (Reuters) - Kazakhstan has chosen JP Morgan (JPM.N) and VTB Capital (VTBR.MM) to lead the international listing of Kazakhtelecom KZTK.KZ, the country’s largest telecoms operator, two financial sources familiar with the matter said.

The listing in London or Hong Kong could be the first in a string of sales from a privatization program in Central Asia’s biggest economy. Kazakhtelecom, which already trades on the Almaty bourse, will also be listed on the new Astana exchange.

Oil-rich Kazakhstan launched its privatization drive with the goal of reducing the state’s role in the economy by 2021.

VTB and JP Morgan declined to comment. The Kazakh sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna, which owns 52 percent of the firm, and Kazakhtelecom did not respond to requests for comment.

One source said he expected the Astana bourse, which is due to open in July, to be the “driving force” for the new listing.

Kazakhtelecom, which Thomson Reuters data shows has a market capitalization of 309.7 billion tenge ($944.32 million), has a 51 percent stake in a local mobile operator co-owned by Tele2 and made a bid for Kcell KCEL.KZ, another Kazakh mobile firm.

Separately, two banking sources said Kazakhstan’s state uranium miner Kazatomprom had delayed its plans to list in London this year due to falling uranium prices UX-U3O8-SPT, used to power nuclear reactors.

In 2017, Kazatomprom hired JP Morgan as its lead adviser on the flotation.

Samruk-Kazyna, which has holdings worth $67 billion, plans to reduce its investments in Air Astana, Kazatomprom, oil company KazMunayGaz (KMG) and other assets.

Additional reporting by Olzahs Auyezov in Almaty; Editing by Edmund Blair

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