NEW YORK - In closing the sale of 371,000 local access lines in Missouri to CenturyTel Inc. this past weekend, Verizon completed access line sales that have generated approximately $4 billion in pre-tax cash in the third quarter 2002.
The net proceeds are being used to pay down debt as it matures, contributing to a reduction in total debt levels and improving liquidity by reducing commercial paper levels.
The sales of 1.27 million switched, wireline access lines cover Verizon's local telephone business in Alabama, Kentucky and Missouri. Sales of these non-strategic assets brought Verizon approximately $3,200 per access line before taxes.
All sales were announced in October 2001 and are cash transactions that have closed in the current quarter following state and federal regulatory approvals. Previously, Verizon received $1.0 billion from the sale of 304,000 lines in Alabama to CenturyTel and $1.9 billion from the sale of 596,000 lines in Kentucky to ALLTEL Corp. On Aug. 31, Verizon received $1.2 billion from CenturyTel for the Missouri lines.
Verizon will release more detailed information on the effect of these transactions in the context of debt reduction, other asset disposals and offsets, when the company issues its third-quarter earnings report next month.
In June 2001, Verizon announced a program to sharpen the company's strategic focus by selling wireline assets in states where the company did not have a critical mass of other wireline properties or support operations in the region. More than 100 Verizon employees coordinated activities to ensure a smooth transition of operations to CenturyTel and ALLTEL.
A total of 1,758 employees have transferred from Verizon to the buyers at the same or comparable wages and benefits -- 950 to CenturyTel and 808 to ALLTEL.
Verizon continues to provide wireless, long-distance, dial-up Internet and directory-publishing services to customers in each of the three states.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 135.1 million access line equivalents and 30.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and approximately 241,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.