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NTL redlines £11.1bn

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NTL, Britain's biggest cable operator, today announced net losses a whopping £11.1 billion ($15.86 billion) for the year.

The telecom operator's revenue for the year was £2.57 billion, compared to £1.886 billion for 2000. The firm is struggling under the burden of an estimated debt of £12 billion.

NTL made exceptional 2001 charges, principally in Q4, of approximately £8. billion for the impairment of goodwill, the write-down of certain assets and cost rationalisation. The firm shed 6,500 jobs - a third of its workforce - in the last year. NTL now employs 13,600.

On the bright side, the company's underlying revenues increased by £488 million, and it claimed the largest slice of the UK broadband market with more than 180,000 customers.

The debt comes on the back of a £12.5 billion acquisition trail from NTL over the last two years which saw it acquire 11 rival operators. It has also made sponsorship deals with a number of British Football clubs including Newcastle United, Aston Villa, Celtic and Rangers.

Barclay Knapp, president and chief executive of NTL, said the company was making progress with recapitalisation.

"We are in the midst of a constructive dialogue with our bondholders, bank group and potential investors," he said, though he admits the company might run out of money before being able to prop up its business.

"There can be no assurance that we will successfully complete a recapitalisation or financing in a timely manner in order to sustain the Company's operations," he adds. ®

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