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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kazakhstan Limits Auction To Just 5 State Enterprises

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan named five companies Friday in which state-owned shares would be sold to portfolio investors, but put off planned sales in another eight.

The former Soviet republic's government, which wants to develop a viable stock market and badly needs to raise funds, said it would float state shares in five potential blue-chip companies on the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange.

"[The government] will hold negotiations with investment banks on the primary placement of state shares in AO Zhezkazgantsvetmet, Mangistaumunaigaz, Kazakhtelekom, Aktobemunaigaz [and] Ust-Kamenogorsk Titanovo-Magnievy Kombinat," a government statement said.

But sales of shares in eight other firms had been suspended, it said.

Most of the 13 companies mentioned in the statement represent Kazakhstan's largest and potentially multibillion-dollar companies and were initially seen by the Central Asian state's officials as future blue chips.

The government is offering portfolio investors its 16.5 percent stake in the Ust-Kamenogorsk titanium and magnesium plant, 5-20 percent in Zhezkazgantsvetmet copper producer, 5 percent to 7 percent in the largest oil producer Mangistaumunaigaz, 5 percent to 15 percent in oil company Aktobemunaigaz and 2 percent to 4.5 percent in the telecommunications monopoly Kazakhtelekom.

The government hopes sales of state stakes to portfolio investors will yield over $400 million next year to replenish treasury coffers.

The statement gave no reasons for the suspension. Nor did it give the date when state-held stakes might be floated on the exchange.