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Thursday, 22 March, 2001, 12:35 GMT
Telewest losses widen
Worker laying telecom cables
Telewest met its target of connecting digital customers
The plunging stock markets and the uncertain economic climate obscured considerable progress made by Telewest, the cable operator claimed as it released its financial results.

The smaller of the UK's two main cable operators has seen its share price plunge from 450p to 118p in less than a year after being caught up in the new economy boom and bust that has struck telecom and tech stocks.

If Telewest were human, it would have been the equivalent of changing jobs, moving house, getting married and giving birth all in one year

Adam Singer
Telewest Chief Executive
Telewest reported a rise in operating profits and widening bottom line losses for 2000 but says it hit its target for digital subscibers.

It made a pre-tax loss of 701m in the year to 31 December, compared with a loss of 530m in the previous year.

Profits before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were up 11.3%, in line with analyst expectations.

No new subscriber target

The company hit its target of getting 500,000 digital customers, and says the set-top box supply problems of last summer were "history".

Telewest Chief Executive Adam Singer
Singer would not reveal new subscriber target
The set-top box problem, caused by a global famine of programmable computer chips, caused a brief dip in residential subscribers. Telewest now has 1.7m analogue and digital customers.

"If Telewest were human, it would have been the equivalent of changing jobs, moving house, getting married and giving birth all in one year," said chief executive Adam Singer.

Digital future

In 2000, Telewest extended its UK cable network with the purchase of Eurobell from Deutsche Telekom for 200m and its turnover was boosted by the merger with programme distributor Flextech, which now forms its content division.

Mr Singer also said the group might be interested in getting the pay-per-view rights to the English Premier League, which are up for grabs following cable rival NTL's decision to withdraw its offer last year.

He wouldn't say whether the group would join forces with NTL to take the rights and brushed aside the perennial question of whether Telewest would eventually merge with NTL to create a national cable champion to compete better with BSkyB.

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See also:

16 Nov 00 | Business
Telewest 'back on track'
08 Aug 00 | Business
Telewest cuts web access costs
03 Aug 00 | Business
Telewest digital setback
23 Mar 00 | Business
High-speed net: Is it worth it?
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