TeliaSonera using ‘coupons’ to pay for Azercell stake, report says

18 Nov 2009

Swedish telecoms company TeliaSonera is using coupons issued by the Azeri government in 1995 to buy the state’s stake in wireless operator Azercell, Bloomberg reports. In March 2008 the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies (MCIT) sold its remaining 35.7% stake in Azercell to Fintur Holdings, which already held a 64.3% stake in the operator, for USD180 million. Fintur is a joint venture between TeliaSonera (58.55%) and Turkey’s Turkcell (41.45%). As part of the deal, TeliaSonera is using vouchers held by unnamed investors, which were given to citizens to buy state property as the republic moved toward a free-market economy, to partially pay for the stake, while the remainder will be paid in cash. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Azercell was the country’s largest cellco by subscribers at 30 June 2009, reporting a wireless customer base of 3.63 million, representing a market share of over 55%.

Azerbaijan, Azercell, Telia Company