Azerbaijan’s Minister for Economic Development, Farhad Aliyev, says the privatisation of the country’s joint-venture mobile operator Azercell will most probably take place in the first half of 2005. The initial appraisal phase has been concluded and, as a result, the valuation of the operator has been upped by around 20%-25%. Azercell is 64.3% owned by Azertel and 35.7% by the MOC. Azertel is itself owned by Fintur (79.78%) and the privately owned Turkish telecommunications dealer chain, Cenay InÕaat (20.22%). Fintur is a joint venture between TeliaSonera (58.55%) and Turkcell. In March 2004 the government said it planned to sell its stake in Azercell by the end of the year for up to USD30 million. It has appointed CA IB Corporate Finance Beratungs and OMNI as the consultants for the privatisation.