When Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, rang the bell to open trading on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in late November 2006, he was symbolically ushering in a new era. Companies flush with cash from Kazakhstan’s energy-driven economy were flocking to list in London, where they were welcomed as rising stars.
Seven years later, one of the Kazakhstani stars on the London exchange burned out: on November 22, 2013, the Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) beat an ignominious retreat from the LSE, buffeted by tumbling share prices, corruption scandals, legal tussles, and boardroom backstabbing.
It was a far cry from the triumphant day in 2007 when ENRC floated in London, worth £6.8 billion ($11 billion) and pricing shares at 540 pence (about $8.75). By the end of their last day of trading, share values had plummeted by 60 percent, to 217.25 pence (about $3.50) apiece. And in a double-whammy, the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange downgraded ENRC as it exited the LSE.
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Joanna Lillis is a freelance writer who specializes in Central Asia.