Who Bought KMG-Retail for Cheap?

At the end of 2018, KazMunaiGas NC auctioned off one of its affiliated companies, KMG-Retail LLP. According to the announcement on the trading platform’s website, the auction did take place and the opening price of the filling station chain constituted only 59911782000 or about $150-160 mln.

There is no telling who exactly was the buyer of such a valuable asset sold for only 60.5 bln tenge, but, based on the official announcement published on KMG-Retail website, one may conclude that this buyer is somehow connected to PetroRetail LLP. Because it is the latter that has become the new operational company of the filling station chain that previously belonged to KazMunaiGas.

Here is the press-release (text in bold by kz.expert).

“We hereby inform you that, starting from March 27, 2019, KazMunaiGas Onimderi LLP’s operations related to the sale of the petroleum products via the fuel cards and digital coupons will be suspended. For further cooperation, please, make a contract with the new operational company of KazMunaiGas’ filling station chain, PetroRetail (starting from March 11, 2019)”.

Note that, according to the terms of the sale published on the site of the digital trading platform, the buyer of KMG-Retail LLP, upon concluding the deal, was supposed to do the following.

  1. The one-time purchase of the remaining petroleum products from KazMunaiGas Onimderi LLP within the payment time limit agreed on by the parties and at the low cost-price.
  2. The purchase, on the priority and long-term basis, of the petroleum products from the KMG group in the volume agreed on by the parties and at the market price. 
  3. In a three-month time after the transferring of the rights for the share of KMG-Retail LLP, to complete the hiring of the personnel of KazMunaiGas Onimderi and its branches with the employment package that matches the current one.
  4. The purchase of the main assets and properties of KazMunaiGas Onimderi and its branches according to the inventory and at the price agreed on by the parties.

Among the main reasons that made KazMunaiGas NC dispose of its filling station chain, the Kazakh press lists the necessity of the reduction of the state’s role in the economy and the unprofitability of the business.  

Nonetheless, someone did pay 60.5 bln tenge for the company. In other words, the private business thought it might make money on this transaction. And, what is more, has already made it.

Unfortunately, as of this writing, the website of the enterprise did not contain any information as to the value of its properties. However, according to the data from KazMunaiGas NC’ 2017 annual report (page 74), already at that point, the filling station chain consisted of 343 gas filling stations 60% of which were located in the cities and 40% - on the freeways.  

By our crude estimates, the new owners of KMG-Retail LLP have paid not more than a half of the company’s actual price and, most likely, not even that – one fourth or one fifth perhaps. Which, naturally, begs the question – who is this lucky devil?

According to the e-gow data concerning PetroRetail LLP, the new operator of KazMunaiGas’ filling station chain, the company is owned by Prime case LLP, East Trade Solutions LLP, Bakyt Altynbelovna Sagintayeva and Rufat Tursunovich Khodzhalakov.  

Since we have no possibility to thoroughly check all the co-owners of PetroRetail LLP for their familial ties, we will only register the following facts.

  1. PetroRetail LLP was registered on October 31, 2018.
  2. Rufat Tursunovich has the same last name as Ruslan Rakhimovich Khodzhalakov who used to be in charge of KazMunaiGas’ branches in Almay and the Almaty region.
  3. Head Company LLP and Daniyar Rustemovich Abulgazin are the founders of Prime case LLP; the company was registered on October 26, 2018.
  4. Baurzhan Sayfullayevich Toybazarov is the founder of Head Company LLP; the company was registered on May 21, 2018.
  5. Bakyt Altynbekovna Sagintayeva has the same last name as former Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan currently serving as Head of the Presidential Administration Bakytzhan Sagintayev. With that, Sagintayeva is the daughter of Altynbek Smagulovich Umbetov who is a member of the supervisory board of RTI – ANPZ LLP. This company is led by Timur Askarovich, Kulibayev Nursultan Nazarbayev’s son-in-law, the head of the Atameken Nacional Chamber of Entrepreneurs and a billionaire – the co-owner of Halyk Bank.

Since the aforementioned Daniyar Rustemovich Abulgazin is known as one of Timur Kulibayev’s closest and most trusted business-partners, we presume it was Nazarbayev’s son-in-law who, if not participated in the transaction directly, than, at least, provided the cover for it.

LET US RECALL, that Daniyar Abulgazin, Timur Kulibayev and Dias Suleymenov (on the photo) are the figurants of the investigation published under the title Vitol, the king of oil in Kazakhstan on the website of Public Eye, a Swiss non-profit organization.

Everything above, once again, confirms our idea that the privatization of the state property in Kazakhstan initiated by the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev is, de-facto, but a scheme designed to transfer the most desirable business-assets to his relatives, associates or allies. And this scheme has nothing in common with the privatization programs carried out in the civilized countries.


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