Kazakhstan 2018 | ECONOMY | COLUMN

TBY talks to Talgat Kukenov, CEO, The Abraaj Group Kazakhstan, on the sector.

Talgat Kukenov

What is Abraaj Group's strategy in Kazakhstan?

Abraaj is a one of the leading private equity (PE) funds with two decades of experience investing in growth markets, impressive track records, and multinational companies such as Aramex in the GCC and Fun Milk in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our mid-market PE strategies focus on four sector groups: consumer goods and services, financial services, industrial materials and logistics, and healthcare and education. Our core view is that strong returns are generated by the ability to find, build, and exit exceptional companies and assets. One hurdle that might prevent large PE investors from entering Kazakhstan is the small market capacity. With 18 million people scattered over huge territory, the republic might not look attractive compared to markets like Indonesia, India, Turkey, or Pakistan.

Do you see any opportunities in the wider Central Asian region?

Uzbekistan could represent strong potential for PE investors. In light of recent reforms implemented by new president, the future of Uzbekistan looks quite promising. With a young, dynamic, and growing 32.3-million population and unsatisfied demand for healthcare service, high-quality education, and consumer goods, Uzbekistan might be an attractive target for
PE funds in the future.