Wednesday, 24, July, 2024

With an aim to enhance competition in Uzbek financial markets, the Humo card system is set to go public, following its transformation into a joint-stock company. This movemarks a departure from its previous status as state-owned, as announced by Akmalkhon Ortiqov, Director of the State Assets Management Agency (SAMA).

The long journey towards privatization commenced when the government’s stake in Humo, previously held by the Central Bank's Central Information Center, was transferred to the State Assets Management Agency. While emphasizing that the move wasn't driven by privatization motives initially, the evolution into a joint-stock company signals a strategic shift.

Ortiqov underscored the importance of fostering a competitive environment, aligning with the principles of the State Property Management Law. This act mandates the separation of functions among shareholders, owners, and regulators, ensuring fairness and transparency in the privatization process.

"We will proceed with an open auction for the sale of Humo, adhering to the principles of fairness and transparency," Ortiqov affirmed, highlighting the agency's commitment to upholding regulatory standards and preventing preferential treatment of state-owned enterprises.

Economists foresee a lucrative market for Humo, with Otabek Bakirov suggesting that its market price would exceed that of banks sale. Reports from Kap Depo investment company indicate a surge in Humo's net profit, with an 88% increase in the first quarter alone, reaching UZS 37.4bn ($2.9mn). 

Critically, experts emphasize the need for an open and transparent sale process to maximize Humo's value. The State Assets Management Agency has unequivocally stated that there would be no closed sales or clandestine negotiations, ensuring a level playing field for prospective buyers.

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