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Virgin Media busts £1bn a quarter

Hot numbers for really, really cold quarter

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Virgin Media credited Britons' thirst for data for boosting its revenues by 6.6 per cent after it hauled in over £1bn in the fourth quarter.

The comms firm pulled in total revenues of £1bn in the last quarter of 2010, up 6.6 per cent on the previous adjusted figure for 2009. The company delivered operating income of £71m, up on 2009's £65m.

However, the firm reported a £54m pre-tax loss from continuing operations, mainly due to a £118.7m interest charge. Once income tax benefits and other gains were included, it reported a net profit of £37.1m, compared to a net loss the previous year of £94.4m.

Full year revenues were £3.9bn, up 5.8 per cent, with a full net loss of £141.4m, compared to the previous year's net loss of £357.8m.

Virgin Media said it had seen revenues increase in every area of its business, but trumpeted its increase in cable subscribers, which climbed above four million for the first time. It said the number paying for its 20Mb plus services had increased by 40 per cent, and stood at 780,000.

It thanked the "explosion in data consumpton" because of increasing numbers of connected devices and the growth in online video. It said it carried more than half a terabit per second in its busy periods, the equivalent of 62 copies of the entire Encyclopedia Britannica.

The firm's business service grew revenues by 2.8 per cent for the year, 4,7 per cent in the fourth quarter. However, business revenues, at £152m in the fourth quarter, are still just a fraction of the £851.1m Virgin Media pulled in from its consumer businesses.

The company didn't mention the weather in its earnings statement, but while the public undoubtedly has a thirst for data, it also has an aversion to leaving the house when it's snowing outside. ®

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