Telewest Losses Narrow, But Still No Debt Deal

10 November 2003

Reporting third-quarter results last week, US-owned cable operator Telewest refused to make any more predictions about when its drawn-out restructuring might be completed.

Telewest - whose main operations are in Britain, where it is the second largest cable firm - is still awaiting approval from some of its banks before it can implement an ambitious scheme to swap £3.5 billion ($5.8bn; €5.1bn) of debt for a 98.5% stake in the company.

However, managing director Charles Burdick remains guarded about when this might take place, having twice this year made overoptimistic forecasts. "We have a revised deal on the table," he said. "It’s in front of our lending banks for approval. We see no problems going forward, but we can’t be specific on timing."

For the first nine months of 2003, Telewest recorded a pre-tax loss of £326 million, down from £397m in the same period in 2002. Sales were flat at £1.01bn, as declines at its TV and telephony businesses were offset by a 51% surge in internet revenues.

One positive for Telewest is that it gained 1,682 net new subscribers in the third quarter - an improvement on the 23,854 lost in Q2.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff