Thursday, June 17, 1999

Gasco, Kauai Electric to be sold

Parent Citizens Utilities is
looking to pay for its $1.65 billion
acquisition of U S West lines

Staff and wire reports


STAMFORD, Conn. -- Citizens Utilities Co., the parent of Kauai Electric Co. and Hawaii's Gasco Inc., today said it will sell its natural-gas, water and electric utilities to focus on its telecommunications business.

The utilities have a combined 872,000 customers in eight states, Bloomberg News reported.

Kauai Electric has 120 employees and 29,800 customers. Gasco has 310 employees and provides household and commercial cooking gas to 66,000 customers statewide.

A spokeswoman for Kauai Electric said they know about the decision but no details except that Leonard Tow, chief executive of Citizens Utilities, wants to simplify operations to buy more phone lines.

In 1997, Stamford, Conn.-based Citizens Electric agreed to buy Gasco from BHP Hawaii Inc. in a $100 million cash deal. Citizens first entered the Hawaii market in 1969 when it acquired Kauai Electric from McBryde Sugar Co.

The sales could begin in the next few months, said Brigid Smith, a Citizens Utilities spokeswoman.

"This is talking in term of long-term financing. There is no special timetable or urgency to selling any of these properties at all," Smith said.

Citizens said it will use the proceeds to help finance its $1.65 billion purchase of 530,000 phone lines from U S West Communications Inc., which was announced yesterday.

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