Telewest, Britain's second largest cable operator, yesterday silenced speculation about its future with the announcement of a massive refinancing agreement. This ensures that the debt-beset group has sufficient available cash until its forecast break-even in 2003.

Industry observers see the deal as a triumph for Telewest chief executive Adam Singer, the more so in view of the generally hostile market stance toward the media and telecoms sectors. In addition, Singer is expected to announce later this week that the group has hit its target of 500,000 digital service subscribers.

The debt restructuring supersedes and consolidates existing borrowings of £1.5 billion and £200 million, and is intended to meet running costs now that Telewest has completed the construction of its cable network. There is also provision for an additional £250m to meet future expansion needs.

Said one analyst: “One of the questions that has always been asked about Telewest is 'How well funded are they?'. This should provide the answer.”

News source: Financial Times