The year-long restructuring talkfest at Britain’s number two cable operator Telewest may finally be nearing an end.

Telewest – US-owned but operating mainly in the UK – said an agreement over its £3.5 billion ($5.6bn; €5.0bn) debt-for-equity swap could be less than a fortnight away. This rescue package will see existing shareholders take just 1.5% of the restructured firm, the rest going to bondholders.

“We are close to definitive agreement with all the stakeholders,” declared managing director Charles Burdick. “We are hopeful that within two weeks we will be able to agree the outline term sheet.”

However, the onset of the holiday season means that documents detailing the restructure cannot be submitted until September, potentially delaying completion until November.

The news came as Telewest reported a net loss of £208 million for the first half of 2003, down from £239m a year earlier.

Underlying earnings for the second quarter jumped 20% to £108m, even though turnover stayed flat at £239m. The group lost 23,900 subscribers in Q2, bringing its total to 1.72m. Both its TV and telephone services lost customers, but its broadband internet unit put on 30,1000 to reach 329,300.

Data sourced from: multiple sources; additional content by WARC staff