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12/06/2002

ntl's Irish arm reports pre-tax profits surge

In spite of its parent company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US following a record-busting £12 billion loss, ntl's Irish subsidiary has reported a £2 million increase in profits before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA).
Up to March 31 this year, ntl Ireland reported £3 million EBITDA profits, tripling last year's mark of £1 million. This was largely due to an increase in revenues of £14 million, up on the £10 million achieved last year. ntl now has over 371,500 customers – of which 15,700 are digital TV subscribers.
ntl Ireland's upbeat figures will please shareholders, especially so after plans were revealed for ntl to divide itself into two separate businesses – ntl UK and Ireland, and ntl Euroco.
The UK and Ireland interests have been performing well of late, and earlier this week ntl's UK arm revealed that it would pad its digital channel package by 25 to 150 channels – about the same as Sky. That, coupled with reports that Deloitte & Touche – ITV Digital's administrator – had sold the failed platform's customer lists to ntl, gives notice of the company's intentions to rivals Sky.
ntl will use the lists to canvass ITV Digital's 1.1 million customers who were set adrift after the platform's failure to stay in business.
However, in a statement, ntl management warned that the division of its interests holds "no assurance that we will successfully complete a recapitalisation or financing in a timely manner in order to sustain our operations".
The statement read: "There can be no assurance that we will successfully complete a recapitalisation or financing in a timely manner in order to sustain our operations. Even if we complete recapitalisation process, there is no assurance that the negative publicity will not adversely impact our results of operations or have a long-term negative effect on our brand."
The ntl statement pointed to media coverage as a core problem facing the restructuring process.
"Due to the bad publicity surrounding our financial condition and the effect of that publicity on our brand name, we may find it difficult to convince SMEs to become our customers."
While ntl figures are improving across the board, the company concedes that growth will be limited this year as it ploughs much-needed resources into reducing a massive debt pile.
ntl, www.ntl.com (GMcG)
VMI.TV Ltd

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