Ameritech Plans to Sell Telecom New Zealand Investment, Will Focus on North American, European Growth

CHICAGO (ots-PRNewswire) - Moving forward with its plans to concentrate on expansion in North America and Europe, Ameritech (NYSE: AIT) today announced that it intends to make a public sale of its stake in Telecom Corporation of New Zealand (NYSE: NZT). At current market prices, Ameritech's 24.95% stake in Telecom New Zealand is valued at almost $2.2 billion.

"We will work with Telecom New Zealand management and our partner Bell Atlantic to effect a smooth transition for the company and its shareowners," said Richard C. Notebaert, chairman and chief executive officer. "Ameritech has a unique opportunity to build on our $5 billion European investment base while continuing our expansion into high-growth segments in North America." Ameritech will use the proceeds from the Telecom New Zealand sale to partially fund these growth opportunities.

In September 1990, Ameritech and Bell Atlantic purchased Telecom Corporation of New Zealand, the state-owned telecom company, for $2.46 billion. The New Zealand government required Ameritech and Bell Atlantic to reduce their combined ownership position to less than 50% of shares by September 1994. In 1991, Ameritech and Bell Atlantic sold a 31% stake to the public in Telecom New Zealand's initial public offering. The remaining sales to meet the government's requirement were completed in 1993. Ameritech currently owns a 24.95% stake in Telecom New Zealand. The offering of Telecom New Zealand shares, which will be made only by means of a prospectus, is expected to take place in the first half of 1998.

Telecom New Zealand provides local, long distance and cellular services to a country of 3.5 million people. Telecom New Zealand serves 1.8 million phone lines and 456,300 cellular customers.

Including its stake in Tele Danmark, Ameritech is the largest U.S. investor in European telecommunications companies, with $5 billion invested in Europe and financial interests in 15 European countries. Europe is ripe for expansion as its markets open to competition in 1998; the European telecom market is forecast to grow almost 13% a year, from $316 billion in 1996 to $578 billion in 2001. Ameritech holds stakes in European telecom companies such as Belgacom of Belgium, Matav of Hungary, NetCom of Norway, and WLW, a Germany-based business directory publisher that does business in 10 European countries.

Ameritech serves millions of customers in 50 states and 40 countries. Ameritech provides a full range of communications services, including local and long distance telephone, cellular, paging, security monitoring, cable TV, Internet services and more. One of the world's 100 largest companies, Ameritech (www. has 69,000 employees, 1 million shareowners and more than $24 billion in assets.

ots Originaltext: Ameritech
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George Stenitzer of Ameritech, 312-609-6166,;

Ariane Burgess of Telecom New Zealand, 011-64-4-498-9270 or 011-64-25-420-913 or

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