• EBRD becomes minority shareholder in Air Astana 
  • Bank makes first airline equity investment through IPO 
  • Funds will support expansion of Kazakhstan’s flagship carrier 

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has invested US$ 41.99 million (€39.02 million) into shares of Kazakhstan’s flagship carrier, Air Astana, supporting the country’s first partial privatisation through an initial public offering (IPO). The EBRD’s investment represents a 5 per cent shareholding in Air Astana.

The shares will be listed on both the London Stock Exchange and the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange.

The IPO funds, including the Bank’s investment, will be deployed to support Air Astana’s fleet expansion and renewal programme, the construction of an aircraft maintenance facility and the acquisition of a flight simulator.

Air Astana will be aiming to expand its current fleet to 80 aircraft by 2029 by acquiring new fuel-efficient planes.

The IPO is a significant privatisation benchmark for Kazakhstan’s economy, which is predominantly controlled by the state. The reduction of the state’s ownership to less than 50 per cent, which will be achieved through the IPO, sets an important precedent for the country and the region. The participation of the EBRD (a AAA-rated investor) in the IPO will give additional confidence to institutional and private investors looking at opportunities in Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

The EBRD, which became fully aligned with the Paris Agreement at the start of 2023, will be working with Air Astana, a regional corporate leader in sustainability, towards achieving its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. The Bank will also use this opportunity to play a greater role in the decarbonisation of aviation and to assist in setting up the sustainable aviation fuels industry in Central Asia.

With €10 billion invested in the country to date through 317 projects, Kazakhstan is the EBRD’s largest and longest-running banking operation in Central Asia.