Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 5
Two Azerbaijani state-run telecom enterprises - Aztelecom and Baku Telephone Communication - will undergo property form change and become open joint-stock companies in the first half of 2015, Communications and High Technologies Minister Ali Abbasov said Sept. 5.
The minister told reporters that active work is currently underway as part of the pre-privatization evaluation of these communication enterprises.
"In the near future it is expected to attract a consulting company to conduct an audit. We expect that the change in the ownership form at these enterprises will take place by late 2014 or early 2015," the minister said.
At the initial stage the state-run fixed network operators are expected to be merged into a single telecom company - a joint stock company, fully owned by the state.
At a later stage a share at the future joint stock company will be subjected to privatization. This will contribute to the emergence of private companies and the bodies regulating their activities in the market.
The Communications and Information Technologies Ministry estimates that the cost of Aztelecom may exceed $1 billion.
The ministry's long-term plans include the privatization of all enterprises under its jurisdiction. Following this the ministry will act solely as a regulator in the telecom market of Azerbaijan.