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IFC INVESTS IN FIRST SHARE REGISTRY COMPANY IN KAZAKSTAN


Amy Conran
Phone: (202) 473-9119
Fax: (202) 974-4384
E-mail: aconran@ifc.org


WASHINGTON, D.C., May 20—The International Finance Corporation (IFC) today signed an investment agreement with ABN Amro NV and Global Kazkommerts Securities to create ABN Amro Registrars, the first share registry company in Kazakstan. ABN Amro Registrars will provide independent share registration and transfer services that meet international standards.
Kazakstan's nascent capital markets are facing an increasing demand for more reliable and transparent share registration services. ABN Amro Registrars will eliminate some of the uncertainties that shareholders face in recording ownership rights, thereby facilitating the inflow of foreign portfolio investment as well as the development of a local retail market.

In well functioning markets, share registries are maintained by trust banks totally independent from the companies for which they maintain registries. Their fiduciary obligation is to preserve the integrity of the share registry and to expeditiously record changes in share ownership on receipt of properly executed transfer instructions. ABN Amro Registrars will provide companies with registry services which meet this standard.

"The Kazak Government has requested IFC assistance in developing their equity market and attracting portfolio investment," said Mr. Michael Essex, IFC's Regional Representative at a signing ceremony in Almaty earlier today. "The establishment of an independent, reliable registry service is IFC's first response to that request."

With a capital base of US$100,000, ABN Amro Registrars will be owned 51 percent by ABN Amro NV, which will provide management; 29 percent by Global Kazkommerts Securities, one of the leading investment banks in the Republic; and 20 percent by IFC. The company will be headquartered in Almaty and will use the same offices as ABN Amro Bank Kazakstan, a financial institution in which IFC was a founding shareholder. Kazakstan is one of the countries chosen for the "Extending IFC's Reach Initiative," a new program designed to help IFC be more effective in countries that have challenging investment environments, limited FDI flows, and other constraints to private sector activity.

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral source of equity and loan financing for private sector projects in developing and emerging economies.