Shares in LSE-listed Kazakh super-app Kaspi plummet as unrest continues

Quick Take

  • The share price of Kazakh super-app Kaspi dropped sharply to below $80 as the country experiences unrest. 
  • Kaspi, one of the most popular fintech firms in the country, went public on the London Stock Exchange in 2020 at a valuation of over $6 billion

The share price of Kaspi, the LSE-listed fintech super-app used by around half of the Kazakh population, has fallen sharply as the country experiences a period of turbulence.

The stock hovered at $113.80 as markets opened on Wednesday but sharply dropped to as low as $71, before recovering slightly to above $80. At the time of writing, Kaspi's website was not accessible, likely due to widespread internet outages in the country. 

On Sunday, protests in Kazakhstan began when the government lifted a price cap on fuel. They have since intensified and, according to a BBC report, much of the anger is directed at former president Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has remained a powerful figure in the government since stepping down.

Kaspi made its mark in the country as a super-app offering the ability to pay bills, transfer money and pay retailers, becoming the country’s defacto payment system in the process. The company tapped into a population with a large unbanked but increasingly online population, with an average internet penetration rate of 79%. 

In October 2020, it surprised many market observers by going public in October 2020 at a $6 billion valuation. The net worth of its founders Vyacheslav Kim and Mikhail Lomtadze shot up to $2.5 billion and $2 billion respectively after the listing, which was the largest international tech IPO of 2020. 

The following month, Forbes reported on Kairat Satybaldy — the nephew of former president Nazarbayev and a leading figure in the ruling Nur Otan Party — and his relationship with the fintech. 

In 2017, according to Forbes, Satybaldy owned a 30% stake in Kaspi which he cashed out in 2019 after its first attempt to go public. Had he remained a controlling shareholder, as a politically powerful figure in Kazakhstan, the public listing would have likely drawn scrutiny from regulators. 

© 2022 The Block Crypto, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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