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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2006, 14:38 GMT
Losses widen at cable group NTL
Family watching NTL cable TV service
NTL and Virgin Group are still in talks over a tie-up
UK cable company NTL has reported a deeper net loss for the last three months of 2005, ahead of the completion of its merger with Telewest.

Losses for the quarter rose to 56m ($97m), up from 52m a year earlier.

Fourth-quarter revenues fell 5.4% to 484.6m following a drop in the amount of phone usage by its customers.

Though the number of subscribers to its network grew by 20,600, the average amount of revenue per user fell to 38.98 from 39.08.

The number of people leaving the service each month - the churn rate - was flat at 1.5%.

Talks ongoing

NTL said that 29% of its residential customers, totalling about 1.8 million, now subscribe to the "triple-play" package of TV, telephone and internet services, a rise of 27% from a year ago.

Last month, NTL raised its takeover offer for Virgin Mobile to 961m. The two companies are in talks about the improved offer after Virgin Mobile rejected NTL's original 871m bid.

If the deal goes ahead NTL will use the Virgin brand to offer internet access, TV and fixed line and mobile telephony.

Meanwhile, NTL's merger partner Telewest added 20,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter, taking its total to about 1.8 million, while its churn rate fell to 1.2%.

Telewest's average revenue per user was flat at 45.17.

Both companies are recovering from a downturn, which saw NTL emerge from bankruptcy protection in 2003 and Telewest undergo restructuring.

Although NTL and Telewest's operations are focused in the UK, shares in both companies are traded in New York.

NTL ups offer for Virgin Mobile
16 Jan 06 |  Business
Virgin Mobile rejects NTL offer
08 Dec 05 |  Business
NTL and Virgin in takeover talks
05 Dec 05 |  Business
Virgin Mobile snubs first NTL bid
07 Dec 05 |  Business
NTL seals $6bn Telewest takeover
03 Oct 05 |  Business
NTL takes control of Virgin Net
28 Sep 04 |  Business

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