SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - GTE Corp., Puerto Rico Telephone Company and VNU today announced that a GTE/PRTC consortium has entered into a partnership with VNU to publish telephone directories in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where VNU currently is a directories publisher.
The joint venture will be called Axesa Informacion Incorporado and will publish approximately 2 million telephone books for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. GTE/PRTC will own 60 percent of the interest in the partnership, while VNU will have 40 percent.
"This investment is a natural fit for both GTE and PRTC, given GTE's recent acquisition of an equity stake in PRTC," said Doug LaVelle, president of GTE Directories International. "It also expands GTE Directories International's presence in the Caribbean and Latin America, a region in which we want to grow our business."
GTE owns CODETEL, a full-service telephone company in the Dominican Republic, as well as the directories operations there. In March 1999, GTE increased its strategic interest in the Caribbean when a GTE-led consortium acquired a controlling interest in the Puerto Rico Telephone Company.
Ed Penninx, president of VNU World Directories, said, "We are delighted to join with GTE and PRTC in forming an exciting new venture to bring high-quality telephone directories and information products to the businesses and people of Puerto Rico and the U. S. Virgin Islands."
VNU World Directories has established five joint venture relationships with the full-service telephone companies of Belgium, Ireland, Portugal, South Africa and now Puerto Rico.
Jose Blanco, who will serve as managing director of the joint venture said, "This new agreement marks the continuous publication of directories for the Puerto Rico Telephone Company on the island of Puerto Rico spanning the past 71 years. We look forward to serving the information needs of both buyers and sellers with a variety of products and services that the new company will produce for PRTC."
With 1998 revenues of more than $25 billion, GTE is one of the world's largest telecommunications companies and a leading provider of integrated telecommunications services. Its directories publishing unit provides directory-related services in 13 countries worldwide with a circulation of 96 million.
Puerto Rico Telephone Company is the island's only full-service provider of telecommunications services to both the business and consumer markets, including local-exchange, long-distance, wireless and Internet access services. PRTC serves 1.3 million access lines and 229,000 wireless subscribers.
VNU is a Netherlands-based international publishing company, whose operations include consumer and professional magazines, newspapers, educational books, telephone directories, marketing information services, trade shows and entertainment. Worldwide, the company employs approximately 15,000 people and has annual revenues of more than NLG 5.3 million (EUR 2.4 billion).
VNU World Directories is an international telephone information provider, which publishes alphabetical and classified directories and directory services in a number of international markets.
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