Kazakhstan 2017 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Serik Imanbekov, Chairman of L-Capital, on profitable investment opportunities, presenting Kazakhstan to international investors, and the role the company will play in the diversification of the economy.

Serik Imanbekov,
Serik Imanbekov graduated from Almaty Railway Institute and Almaty Institute of National Economy. In the 1990s, he worked for banks as a loan manager, head of lending department, then for brokerage companies such as KBS-securities, and Eastbokers Kazakhstan as a trader, analyst, and deputy director. In 1998, he obtained an auditor’s license and today is a full member of Kazakhstan Auditor’s Chamber. In the 2000s, he worked as a finance director at Lokomotive JSC. In 2008, he got involved in the consulting business having established his LLP, which gradually evolved into an investment company with a number of subsidiary projects working in various spheres.

Can you tell us more about L-Capital's operations and highlights since its establishment?

We started as a financial consultant company eight years ago. We offered our customers optimum profit deriving from funds investment. Currently, L-Capital is an investment company. We look for projects, restructure them, and attract investments. We also implement promising joint projects in the area of logistics, construction, and gold mining with our foreign partners. We purchase minority participation interest in these companies and attract other investors if the investment is not enough. The main recipe for our success is the community of investors that we have worked with over the past eight years. We do not limit ourselves to working with large-scale businesses, and also have something to offer SMEs and even individuals.

What is your vision of L-Capital's role in the strategy of diversification and national development in the years to come?

We keep a wary eye on the economic and political agenda of our state. Currently, the Western Europe-Western China transnational project is being implemented in our country. In one's pursuit to exploit its advantageous geographical position between Europe and Asia to the maximum, Kazakhstan invests substantial funds in the development of road infrastructure. We, as a private company, invest our funds in the purchase of construction and road-building machinery in order to take an active role in the construction of railway lines and highways. We have plans to continue our activity in this field until 2020 as long as the construction of road infrastructure goes on. After that we will focus on the development sphere of logistics by redirection of investments into the purchase of automotive material and railway cars.

L-Capital is also involved in attracting international investments into Kazakhstan. What is your company's strategy for this?

There are certain nuances to this. A particular feature of foreign investment raising is the fact that large institutional investors (pensions, investment funds, insurance companies, venture funds) are not directly engaged in the search for investment projects. They involve investment agents for this purpose. These investment agents search for interesting projects, conduct due diligence, assessment, filtration, and suggest projects that meet the requirements of institutional investors the most. We are also seeking ways to search for foreign investors in order to offer them our services as an investment agent. For this purpose, we participate in various special events. One of the recent events that we took part in was the Asian Financial Forum held in January 2017 in Hong Kong with 2,700 representatives of investment funds and banks from Asian and Middle Eastern countries, including China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and so on. I should mention that CIS countries were represented only by Russia and Kazakhstan. The Astana International Financial Center and our company, L-Capital, represented our country. We made presentations of our projects and saw great interest in them. We managed to establish business relationships with almost 150 investment companies. Another objective that we pursued was to carry out an IPO of a Kazakhstani company's shares (our issuer) at Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKSE) and, though we ran up against certain difficulties of an objective nature, we found out that this line is very promising. Hong Kong investors are very interested in mining companies or those that have export and import relations with China. We have an opportunity to contribute to the IPOs of local business on the HKSE. So, if national companies are involved in minerals extraction or have trade relations witch China and are interested in the placement of their securities on the HKSE, they can make use of our services.