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Virgin Media sales are a bit flat under the Cable Cowboy's reign

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Virgin Media has been part of Cable Cowboy John Malone's Liberty Global family for almost a year now. Yet the takeover hasn't boosted the UK telco's flat first quarter sales, which the City was told about this morning.

Although growth in consumer and mobile revenue had rose, overall sales climbed a slender one per cent, to £1.044bn, compared with the £1.042bn the company posted for the same period a year ago.

During Virgin Media's first quarter, ending 31 March, the firm was cheered by the number of new subscribers it hooked up to its fibre broadband network, which is now connecting more than 4.9 million Brits to the internet. It pulled in 21,200 customers in Q1, up from 8,600 in 2013.

Last week, rival BSkyB watched its broadband customer growth shrink rapidly in the pay-TV giant's third quarter, for which it partly blamed its takeover of O2's home broadband network, whereupon as many as 30,000 subscribers quit the service.

Virgin Media's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation rose six per cent to £445m. Operating income stood at £19m, compared with £149.9m a year ago, which the company put down to "acquisition accounting" as a result of its buyout by Liberty Global.

The ISP no longer breaks out its net income and profit figures now that it is part of Liberty Global, which noted that VM's bottom line would be hit by a change in UK law for charging VAT in connection with prompt payment discounts.

Sales, operating income and operating cash flow could drop as much as $50m (£29m) from May through to the end of the year, Virgin Media's London-based parent company warned.

Liberty Global, which is now a UK PLC, saw revenues rocket to $4.53bn from $2.67bn a year earlier when it was set to scoop up Virgin Media. ®

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