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Consumer growth floats NTL's boat

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NTL reduced losses in Q1 on the back of improved demand for consumer services. The cableco today reported losses on continuing operations of £62.26m (Q1 04: £75.5m) on revenues of £517m (Q1 04 £513m) for the first three months of the year.

The improved numbers were buoyed by NTL's recent acquisition of ISP Virgin.net and the continuing increase in broadband subscribers. During Q1 the cableco added another 112,900 broadband customers, taking the total number of high speed net users to 1.44m.

The cableco is also reporting that more customers are taking two or more products with almost one in four consumers forking out for the "triple play" - TV, phone and internet.

NTL chief exec Simon Duffy was chipper about today's results, saying the "continued strong performance" should result in more than 200,000 new customers during 2005.

Last night NTL confirmed it had sold its cable business in Ireland, fuelling speculation that it is clearing the table to begin merger talks with Telewest.

It sold the business to UnitedGlobalCom for €325m (£222m). MS Irish Cable Holdings, a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley, will hold the stake on UGC's behalf, until the deal gets regulatory clearance. ®

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