Losses widen at ntl, outperformed by Telewest
# Mar 1, 10:34 AM by Frank
UK cable company ntl has reported a deeper net loss for the last three months of 2005, ahead of the completion of its merger with Telewest. Telewest, which has been the better performer of the two, had a net loss of ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£14 million ($24.38 million) on revenues of ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£435 million ($757.45 million), compared with last year’s net loss of ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£17 million ($29.6 million) on revenues of ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£336 million ($585.06 million).
ntl reported a net loss of ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£56.2 million (US$97.86 million) on revenues of ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£485 million ($844.51 million). That compares with a net loss of ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£73.6 million ($128.16 million) on 5.4 percent higher revenues of ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£512 million ($891.53 million) in the fourth quarter last year.
On a conference call with analysts, ntl executives said that aside from some unexpected charges related to bad debt and vacant leasehold property, ntlÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s results were in line with expectations, while Telewest experienced its best quarter in four years.
Both operators added just over 20,000 net subscribers during the quarter, but ntl’s revenues were affected by falling telephone usage. Average revenue per user (ARPU) slipped from ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£39.08 ($68.05) to ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£38.98 ($67.87), while Telewest’s ARPU remained flat at ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£45.17 ($78.65).
Interestingly, CEO Stephen Burch said ntl will be moving to TelewestÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s billing platform sooner than planned. The combination of three billing systems it uses now ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¦Ã¢â‚¬Å“doesnÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢t give the customer care and information that we need,ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â despite ntl investing ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£9.8 million ($18.0 million) into their “Harmony” billing system integration programme (Q1 2004 results).
Telewest will be on a single billing platform by mid-2006, and Burch expects both networks to be on the same system in 14 to 15 months instead of three years. We shall see :)