Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Kazakhstan: Financial crisis takes on political undertones as top bank effectively nationalized

Local media reports Kazakhstan has effectively nationalized its top bank BTA and sacked a former opposition leader as its key manager as a deepening financial crisis acquired political undertones in Central Asia's biggest economy.

The government said it would pay 251 billion tenge ($2.1 billion) for 78.14 percent of shares in BTA, which has assets of $31 billion, to boost its capital by more than $2 billion.

Prime Minister Karim Masimov told a Cabinet meeting that Kazakhstan might sell part of its BTA stake once the transaction was over, adding that the government was in talks with Sberbank on this.

An unnamed source close to the talks said a senior Sberbank management team had flown to Kazakhstan to discuss a potential takeover. Sberbank declined to comment.
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
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