UPC Shares Leap as Losses Widen

03 April 2001

Netherlands-headquartered European cable operator United Pan-Europe Communications, listed on the Amsterdam bourse, yesterday posted an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes and amortization) loss of 363 million euros for the year to December 31 2000. This compares with 119.8 million euros in 1999. It expects to break even in 2003.

Paradoxically, UPC shares immediately gained 11% in value as analysts digested the better-than-expected result. Said one entrail-raker at SNS Securities: "It's surprising that UPC is becoming a predictable company, and that its results are in line with guidance given the turmoil surrounding it."

UPC chief executive Mark Schneider contented himself with the observation that the group was "doing what we have said we would do." It predicts break-even in 2003.

The cable giant expects much of its growth to come from distribution, particularly on the internet. It also predicts a doubling of its digital TV subscribers to 250,000 by the end of this year, with the majority of the gain during the second half.

News source: Wall Street Journal