1 Dec 2023 16:40

Kazakh authorities want to privatize Qazaq Air in 2024

ASTANA. Dec 1 (Interfax) - Kazakhstan's state-owned airline, Qazaq Air, is set to be privatized next year, the Kazakh government press service said in a statement.

Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov chaired a meeting of the state commission, during which the participants discussed the matter as part of updating the comprehensive privatization plan for 2021-2025.

"Transferring to a competitive environment for Qazaq Air is planned for 2024," according to the statement.

As previously reported, Kazakhstan's Samruk-Kazyna National Wealth Fund, which owns the carrier, announced in August the launch of trading for the sale of 49% to 100% of the shares in Qazaq Air. The starting price was set at 10.2 billion tenge ($22 million at the current exchange rate). The deadline for accepting applications was extended several times, and it became known in November that Samruk-Kazyna declared the auction invalid.

Transport Minister Marat Karabayev later said that Kazakhstan was negotiating with Vietnam's Sovico Group on the sale of Qazaq Air to the country. Karabayev added that negotiations were ongoing, including covering the company's debts, though the minister did not name the amount of the debt.

Established in 2015, Qazaq Air is wholly owned by the Samruk-Kazyna state fund, and it occupies around 7% of Kazakhstan's aviation market. The carrier's hub is located at the airport in Kazakhstan's capital city, Astana. The airline's fleet comprises five Bombardier DHC-8-Q400NG aircraft. The airline generated revenue of 20.4 billion tenge and EBITDA of 3.9 billion tenge in 2022.

Sovico Group is one of the largest diversified conglomerates in Vietnam, operating in the energy, construction, banking and finance sectors, as well as the aviation industry.

The official exchange rate as on December 1, 2023, is 458.04 tenge/$1.