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Kazakhstan: Corporate Retreat from LSE Raises Governance Questions

Along with being one of Kazakhstan’s largest electrical energy suppliers, Kazakh-based Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) mines and processes iron, iron alloys and aluminum. Buffeted by tumbling share prices, corruption scandals, legal tussles, and boardroom backstabbing, the mining and energy giant delisted from the London Stock Exchange on Nov. 22, 2013. (Photo: ENRC)

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.

Kazakhstan: Corporate Retreat from LSE Raises Governance Questions

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