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Last Updated: Friday, 12 March, 2004, 09:56 GMT
Telewest sees big cut in losses
Fibre optic cables
Cable TV firm Telewest has reported a big drop in losses and said it is close to completing a financial overhaul.

Net losses fell to 272m from 2.23bn the previous year, although 2002's figure was distorted by a one-off accounting charge of 1.48bn.

Excluding exceptional items, the loss was 229m compared with 506m in 2002.

Telewest said its debt-restructuring deal, which will give 98.5% of the company to creditors, should be completed by summer.

Upbeat outlook

Telewest said it had been encouraged by a "solid" performance, with operating losses before exceptional items falling to 62m from 241m.

The firm saw strong growth in broadband subscribers which helped internet-based revenues almost double to 120m.

Turnover overall was up slightly to 1.36bn, from 1.35bn in 2002..

The average amount spent per customer had risen to a record 44.42 a month by the end of the year.

Acting chief executive Barry Elson said the group's marketing and efforts to cut customer turnover had improved customer growth across its services.

"This customer growth has continued in the current quarter."

He also said the UK's second largest cable provider expected customer growth and "good operating results" to continue this year.

Debt-swap deal

In September, the firm unveiled moves to cut its 5.37bn debt mountain.

Under the proposals, bondholders agreed to take swap about 3.5bn in debt for a 98.5% holding in the group.

Existing shareholders will be left with just 1.5% of the firm.

Telewest said it expected the debt restructuring to be completed "late in the second quarter or early in the third quarter of 2004".

Telewest provides multi-channel television, telephone and internet services to around 1.7 million UK households, as well as voice and data telecommunications services to 70,000 business customers.

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