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GTE AND CITIZENS UTILITIES SIGN DEFINITIVE AGREEMENTS ON SALE OF 500,000 GTE ACCESS LINES IN NINE STATES FOR $1.1 BILLION IN CASH

 STAMFORD, Conn., May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- GTE Corp.'s (NYSE: GTE) Telephone Operations unit and Citizens Utilities Company today announced they have entered into definitive agreements for Citizens to purchase approximately 500,000 access lines in nine states. GTE will receive $1.1 billion in cash from Citizens for the properties.
 Both companies described the transaction as a move that will enable each to concentrate on its core markets, achieve operating synergies and create both immediate and long-term value for shareholders.
 The transaction will involve all of GTE's local-exchange properties in eastern Arizona, Montana, New York, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia and a small portion of GTE's properties in California, Idaho and Oregon. The partial sales involve less than 1 percent of GTE's access lines in California, less than 2 percent of its access lines in Oregon and approximately 14 percent of its access lines in Idaho.
 Approval of the sale is required by the Federal Communications Commission, Department of Justice (under the Hart Scott Rodino Act) and by regulatory agencies in each state in which the properties are located. The transfer of ownership will occur on a state-by-state basis in part during 1993, and will be completed in 1994.
 Transaction Part of On-Going Strategy
 The transaction is part of GTE's previously announced strategic effort to trade or sell a small percentage of local-exchange properties in markets that may be of greater long-term strategic value to other telephone-service providers, according to GTE Telephone Operations President Kent B. Foster. "Over the past five years, GTE has added more than 7 million access lines through growth and a series of mergers and acquisitions -- this represents more line growth than any company in the industry. The sale of these properties will strengthen GTE's focus on geographic areas where we already have a strong market presence.
 "We are pleased to enter this transaction with a company that is able to provide quality opportunities for the employees involved and excellent service to the customers living in these areas. Citizens is an outstanding organization, and I am confident that these properties will continue to be well-managed under its leadership," Foster added.
 Citizens Sees High-Growth Trends in Small and Medium-Size Cities and Towns
 Citizens' Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Leonard Tow said Citizens' strategy is to acquire and operate telecommunications, natural gas, electric, water and wastewater businesses in small and medium-size cities and towns that are experiencing above-average economic and job growth.
 "Providing small and medium-size cities and towns in America with the most advanced technology, products and services is the key to superior growth in the telecommunications business for Citizens in the 1990s," Dr. Tow said.
 "Citizens is the only diversified American utility with Triple-A credit ratings," he said. "Because of our strong balance sheet, positive cash flow and earnings to be generated by these assets, and the opportunity for staggered closings of this transaction, we have exceptional flexibility to structure this acquisition's financing in a form that will ensure that Citizens maintains strong credit ratings.
 "This transaction will produce increased earnings, earnings per share and cash flow for our shareholders from the outset, and will increase our annual revenues to more than $1 billion," Dr. Tow said.
 "Acquisition opportunities of this size and quality are rare. Two and a half years ago we told Citizens' shareholders that we planned to double the size of the company by 1996," he added. "This transaction goes a long way toward meeting that goal.
 "At Citizens, we're looking forward to joining with GTE's employees at these properties, and to the capabilities and talents they will bring to our operations. They can count on providing their customers with the same state-of-the-art products and quality service that other Citizens telecommunications users enjoy," Dr. Tow said.
 Citizens currently operates all-digital, local-exchange carriers in three states: Arizona, California and Pennsylvania. In Oregon and Washington, Citizens also operates Electric Lightwave, Inc., whose fiber-optic networks enable commercial users to bypass local exchanges and connect directly with long-distance companies.
 Through its holdings in Centennial Cellular Corp., Citizens has a substantial interest in cellular markets with a population of 4.2 million, primarily in the western United States.
 GTE's Telephone Operations unit is the largest U.S.-based local telephone company, currently providing phone services through more than 21 million access lines in portions of 40 states, British Columbia, Quebec, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. It also markets telecommunications products and services and supplies computer software and data processing. GTE Telephone Operations, based in Irving, Texas, had total revenues of $15.9 billion in 1992 and approximately 104,000 employees worldwide. Its parent, GTE Corp., is the fourth-largest publicly owned telecommunications company in the world.
 Citizens Utilities Company (NYSE: CZNA, CZNB) is a diversified public utility providing telecommunications, natural gas, electric, water and wastewater services in 13 states. Citizens' operations will expand to 18 states upon conclusion of this acquisition.
 -0- 5/19/93
 /CONTACT: Bob Brand of GTE, 214-718-4945 (After 6 p.m. CDT, 817-488-0874), or Greg Miller of Citizens Utilities, 203-329-5117 (After 6 p.m. EDT, 914-834-9161)/
 (GTE CZN)


CO: GTE Corp.; Citizens Utilities Company ST: Connecticut IN: TLS SU:

SH -- NY015 -- 0142 05/19/93 09:05 EDT
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Date:May 19, 1993
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