NEW YORK -- Ivan Seidenberg, president and co-CEO of Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), today told the Credit Suisse First Boston
Global Telecom CEO conference that the company is on track to meet its operational and financial targets for 2001, its first full year following the completion of
the Bell Atlantic-GTE merger.
"The telecom industry is coming through a sorting-out period in which investors are trying to identify those companies with sustainable business models and
the ability to profitably grow in the face of competition," Seidenberg said. "Verizon has the business model -- and the track record -- to differentiate
us as a long-term leader in this new telecom industry."
Seidenberg said that, as the company spelled out at its Feb. 7 meeting with the financial community, Verizon continues to target 2001 adjusted earnings per share
(EPS) between $3.13 and $3.17, with revenue growth in the 8-10 percent range. He said that in the first quarter Verizon is targeting adjusted EPS in the 70-72
cent range, in line with current expectations, and revenue growth in the 7 percent range (both quarters being compared reflect revenues of Verizon Wireless,
which was formed in April 2000).
In the consumer telecom market, Seidenberg said, "We believe that growth opportunities outweigh competitive losses - that innovation and open markets
will expand the marketplace and the revenue opportunities for everybody." Seidenberg noted that Verizon has continued to add DSL (digital subscriber
line) customers at about the same pace as in the fourth quarter of last year and anticipates ending the first quarter with at least 700,000 DSL customers. Verizon
aims to serve approximately 1.2-1.3 million DSL customers by the end of the year.
Verizon is now the fourth-largest long-distance provider in the U.S., and announced today that it has passed the five-million customer mark. Seidenberg said the
company expects to end the quarter with approximately 5.1 million long-distance customers and is aiming for 6.4-6.6 million by the end of the year. The Federal
Communications Commission's decision on the company's application to offer long distance in Massachusetts is due by mid-April.
Seidenberg said Verizon would focus on executing in four key areas in 2001: merger integration, changes in regulation, product innovation and operational
"We've already made substantial progress in integrating Bell Atlantic and GTE as well as the five properties that make up Verizon Wireless, and we're on
track to take full advantage of our size and realize the efficiencies that are inherent in these combinations," Seidenberg said. "We know from past
mergers how to use merger synergies to free up cash for reinvestment in growth businesses at the same time we deliver on earnings targets, and we intend to do
so again in 2001."
Verizon achieved merger-related expense savings in 2000 totaling $535 million on an annual basis and intends to increase those annual savings to approximately
$800 million in 2001. The company's goal is to achieve $2 billion in expense savings by the end of 2003.
Verizon also will move to change regulatory paradigms at the state and federal level, with particular emphasis in 2001 on broadband deregulation, reciprocal
compensation, long-distance approvals, and continued rate reform.
"We will also keep ahead of wireless and wireline technology cycles and step up the pace of product innovation to drive more revenues over our
investment base," Seidenberg said. "And we intend to sustain our momentum on service in our Telecom businesses. We believe we can improve
our efficiency and productivity at the same time we provide excellent service."
Verizon's eastern operations lead local telecommunications providers in consumer satisfaction, according to results of the Yankee Group's Technologically
Advanced Family* Survey announced last week.
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 nearly 109 million access line equivalents and more than 27.5 million wireless customers. Verizon
is also the world's largest provider of print and online directory information. A Fortune 10 company with approximately 260,000 employees and more than $63
billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon,
* Technologically Advanced Family is a registered trademark of Yankee Group.
NOTE: This news release is being issued concurrently with the presentation referred to in the text. This press release contains statements
about expected future events and financial results that are forward-looking and subject to risks and uncertainties. For those statements, we claim the protection
of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The following important factors could affect
future results and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements: materially adverse changes in economic
conditions in the markets served by us or by companies in which we have substantial investments; material changes in available technology; the final outcome of
federal, state, and local regulatory initiatives and proceedings, including arbitration proceedings, and judicial review of those initiatives and proceedings, pertaining
to, among other matters, the terms of interconnection, access charges, universal service, and unbundled network element and resale rates; the extent, timing,
success, and overall effects of competition from others in the local telephone and intraLATA toll service markets; the timing and profitability of our entry into the
in-region long-distance market; our ability to combine former Bell Atlantic and GTE operations, satisfy regulatory conditions and obtain revenue enhancements
and cost savings; the profitability of our entry into the broadband access market; the ability of Verizon Wireless to combine operations and obtain revenue
enhancements and cost savings; our ability to convert our ownership interest in Genuity Inc. into a controlling interest consistent with regulatory conditions, and
Genuity's ensuing profitability; and changes in our accounting assumptions that may be required by regulatory agencies, including the SEC, or that result from
changes in the accounting rules or their application, which could result in an impact on earnings.