Telewest Losses Widen, Joins Share Plunge

23 March 2001

Cable TV and telecoms group Telewest saw its share price fare particularly badly during yesterday’s media stock downturn [see third story], after posting mounting losses for 2000.

Despite a 42% rise in turnover to £1.13 billion and an 11% increase to £247 million in EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes and amortization), pre-tax losses surged from £530m in 1999 to £701m.

Shares in Telewest, part-owned by Microsoft and Liberty Media, plummeted 12% to 104.5p, a drop of 13.5p – one of yesterday’s biggest falls in the FTSE 100.

However, there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel: Telewest now claims over 500,000 digital TV subscribers; and that its earnings performance is on target to break even in 2004 or 2005. Chief executive Adam Singer added that the group boasts the highest revenue per subscriber of any European cable broadcaster.

Despite the continuing rise in digital subscribers, Telewest’s total residential customer base rose only 2.5% last year to 1.69m. Commented Singer: “We want to move our current analogue business across to digital as fast as we possibly can and we want to grow total subscribers.”

News source: The Times (London)