Appraisal of State Stake in Azercell Telecom to be Concluded

Business Materials 19 April 2007 20:20 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku/ Trend , corr. I. Khalilova / The appraisal of the state stake in Azercell Telecom JV is coming to its end, the State Property Committee reported. This process has been delayed due to the appraisal being held once more after a new consultant - a consortium of the companies - CA IB Corporate Finance Beratungs GmbH and Ernst

Azercell Telecom has been appraised many times, but evidently due to the strategic importance of the facility, the Government of the Country does not want to hasten its privatization. According to Ali Abbasov, Azerbaijan's Telecommunication and IT Minister, the state stake in the joint-venture will be privatized by the end of 2007.

Notably, Azercell Telecom was established by Azertel Company and the Azerbaijan telecommunication Ministry in 1996 with state shares comprising 51 %. Previously, based upon 34.6% of the real state sharing in the company, the Economic Development Ministry of the Country was ready to sell out the state stake for $195mln. Turkcell and Fintur showed interest in acquiring the state stake in Azercell Telecom at approximately $200mln.

Azertel (85% of which belongs to Fintur Holding BV, which also belongs to Turkey's largest mobile provider - Turkcell) comes out the foreign founder of the Joint-Stock Company. At the same time, 41.45 % of the sharing in Fintur Holding BV belongs to Turkcell. The rest of the 58.55 % belongs to Finland's Teliasonera, which is the founder of Turkcell. Fintur is the founder of mobile communication operators in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, and Moldova. Azercell Telecom, with over 2.3mln subscribers and covering 78 % of the cell market of the country and 99 % of the population of the country is the main company, and its investments have exceeded $0.5bln, making it one of the largest companies in Azerbaijan's non-oil sector.

To date, only Bakcell of Azerbaijan's mobile communication operators has been privatized.