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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 21, 2001

GST assets to pass hands

By Frank Cho
Advertiser Staff Writer

A federal judge in Delaware is expected to rule tomorrow on who will be allowed to buy the Hawai'i assets of GST Telecommunications Inc., after nearly a year in bankruptcy.

The Vancouver, Wash., company, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization last May, sold about 90 percent of its assets to Time Warner Telecom for $690 million last summer.

Since then, creditors have been working to find a buyer for the rest of the company's operations.

"GST has sort of put the operations here on idle or hibernation, so it's very exciting for everyone to know that it will soon be over," said Jeff Roe, senior vice president of operations for GST.

GST has about 30 employees and provides business voice and data services to several thousand users, mostly on O'ahu.

Also among GST's assets here is a fiber-optic network linking O'ahu to the neighbor islands.

GST spent tens of millions of dollars in the early 1990s to build the fiber-optic network to compete with GTE Hawaiian Tel, now called Verizon Hawai'i.

But soon after its completion, GST began to struggle financially and, in 1999, started soliciting offers to buy its Hawai'i business.

Analysts have said GST's Hawai'i assets, which include an online operation, could bring about $75 million in an auction.

Roe yesterday declined to comment on the bidders or how much they may have offered to pay.

MBN Communications Inc., a privately held Maui company, previously had reached an agreement to purchase GST's Hawai'i assets for $76 million. But that deal fell apart last year.

Frank Cho can be reached by phone at 525-8088, or by e-mail at fcho@honoluluadvertiser.com.