Telewest Losses Mount Despite Healthy Broadband Take-Up

04 March 2002

As expected [WAMN: 01-Mar-02], British cable operator Telewest Communications reported strong take-up of its broadband internet offering as it posted a net loss of £1.93 billion ($2.84bn; €3.3bn) for last year, wider than the £706m in 2000.

The US-owned group - which has attracted investment from the likes of Liberty Media and Microsoft - has 107,000 broadband customers (70% of whom also subscribe to its digital TV and telephone services), and is adding 20,000 a month.

Such growth pushed revenues up 17% last year to a higher-than-expected £1.32 billion. EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) also beat forecasts, jumping 26% to £319m.

However, Telewest was dragged down by a £1.13bn write-down of its Flextech content unit, though the group insists it will not have to restructure its £5.1bn of debt, a course of action currently forced upon larger cable rival NTL [WAMN: 01-Feb-02].

The company closed 2001 with 1.76m residential customers, a 4% rise on twelve months earlier, while the churn rate fell about 7% to 18.7%.

Data sourced from: Wall Street Journal; additional content by WARC staff