Telewest Shares Plunge 19% as Entrail-Rakers Slash Rating

05 March 2002

Telewest, the embattled US-controlled British cable operator, saw its shares slide to an all-time low of £0.13 on Monday.

The dive was triggered by actions by two key financial institutions: investment bank Schroder Salomon Smith Barney and Moody’s Investment Services. The former cut its share price target from £0.75 to £0.10 and downgraded Telewest’s rating to ‘underperform’; the latter put the group’s debt ratings under review for a possible downgrade.

These actions reflect general market concern that Telewest may be unable to service interest repayments on its £5 billion ($7.10bn; €8.18bn) debt.

The latest downturn in the group’s fortunes came in the wake of its latest results reported Friday [WAMN: 04-Mar-02]. In general, the markets appeared satisfied with these – especially news that broadband subscribers had topped the 100,000 mark – but panicked when financial director Charles Burdick revealed he had discussed the group’s possible restructuring with leading shareholders Liberty Media and Microsoft.

As of 0815GMT today (Tuesday) Telewest’s share price on the London stock exchange remained static at £0.13.

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff