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GST misses estimates as CFO quits

GST Telecommunications Inc. (Nasdaq: GSTX), a telecommunications company focused on markets in California and the western United States, missed fourth quarter estimates, restated its 1999 results and said its CFO is leaving the company.

Shares were down to 8 1/4 at Wednesday's close. The stock has been sliding, and the company announced earlier this month it would cut jobs. GST said it will eliminate 100 jobs, or 8 percent of its total workforce.

GST said Dan Trampush, GST's current chief financial officer, is leaving "to pursue other opportunities." The company will announce his replacement, who has already accepted the position, March 28.

In its fourth quarter, GST reported a loss of $1.88 a share, much wider than the loss of $1.30 a share predicted by First Call. In 1998, the company reported a loss of $1.90 a share for its comparable quarter.

Revenue for the quarter ending Dec. 31 was $69 million, up 38 percent over $49.9 million reported in 1998's corresponding quarter. Revenue for the year was $321.9 million, up 97 percent from 1998's total.

Fourth quarter loss, adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA), was $13.1 million, wider than the loss of $12.3 million in the 1998's fourth quarter. For the year, adjusted EBITDA was a loss of $20.9 million, an improvement over the $55.5 million reported in 1998. Net loss per share was $5.11 compared with $4.52 in 1998.

GST said Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) guidance has led it to restate its quarterly results for 1999, primarily relating to construction revenue and cost of construction revenue.

Its third quarter loss was restated as 52 cents a share, versus the originally reported loss of 14 cents a share. Its second quarter loss was restated as $1.28 a share compared to a loss of $1.30 a share.

The company said it saw tremendous growth and development of our network assets in 1999. It recently retained Deloitte Consulting to support management's assessment of the company's strategy, and plans to release specifics of its five-year plan later this spring. GST said it has also engaged Salomon Smith Barney to help it explore financing options.

The company said it expects modest growth in our service business in the first half of 2000, though cost cutting and restructuring are expected to drive service revenue growth during the second half of the year.

GST's top competitors are GTE (NYSE: GTE), SBC Communications (NYSE: SBC) and US West (NYSE: USW).

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