LONDON: Ailing UK cable services monopoly Virgin Media, for long out-gunned and out-foxed by NewsCorp's BSkyB, is to slash 15% of its staff – equivalent to 2,200 job losses by the end of 2010.

On the face of it, the move is prompted less by the current economic and credit situation than it is by the need to minimise debt and bolster cash flow.

Since its launch in the UK [as NTL] in 1996 the US-listed company has been cash-negative, burdened by current debt of around £4.3 billion ($6.72bn; €5.27bn).

According to ceo Neil Berkett, Virgin, which presently employs around 14,600 staff, is seeking a £120m improvement in its cash flow by 2012. Says he: "These changes are critical to ensuring Virgin Media is positioned to compete effectively and deliver on our customers' changing expectations."

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff