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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 August 2005, 13:45 GMT 14:45 UK
Cable firm Telewest back in black
Fibre optic cables
Telewest says it is more confident of future profitable growth
Cable TV company Telewest has bounced back into profit after adding 15,000 new subscribers to its network.

Net profits in the second quarter rose to 19m ($34m), compared with a loss of 126m at the same time a year ago.

The profits recovery was also fuelled by a 14% growth in revenues at its Flextech division - which has a deal with the BBC to run the UKTV channels.

The upturn comes as speculation grows about a possible merger between Telewest and larger rival NTL.

A marriage between the two would give them more muscle to compete against rivals BSkyB, Freeview and BT Group.

Triple play

The average amount of revenue per subscriber (ARPU) fell to 44.86 in the second quqarter, from 45.34 in the first as fewer of its telephone services were used by its customers.

And the churn rate at Telewest - the percentage of customers who leave the service each month - rose a touch to 1.2%.

But the percentage of customers who subscribe to the triple-play package of voice, internet and TV rose 11% to 32.8%.

Cable companies hope the triple-play strategy and new products such as video-on-demand will give them an advantage over satellite and telecom rivals.

"We're taking our fair share of the market growth," said chief operating officer Eric Tveter.

"We think there's room for growth in both satellite and cable."

Earlier this week, rival NTL announced that its second quarter losses had shrunk to 66.1m from 267m a year ago.

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