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Losses, sales up at NTL

Euro cabler feels pinch from acquisitions and digital TV rollout

LONDON — Second-quarter losses at pan-European cabler NTL were up 77% from the year-earlier period to $616.5 million — the result of network acquisitions and rollout of its digital TV service.

Overall sales were up 85% to $666 million as NTL succeeded in generating 230,000 subscriptions to its Digital Plus TV platform in the U.K., launched in May.

Gotham-based company, 25% owned by France Telecom and 5% by Microsoft, doubled the reach of its U.K. network in May when it bought the cable assets of Cable & Wireless Communications in a $13 billion deal.

NTL announced this week that as part of its continuing expansion into Europe, the company is pairing with Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Private Equity to buy France Telecom’s 49.9% stake in French cabler Noos (Daily Variety, Aug. 8).

It has also inked a deal with Germany’s eKabel Investco, which gives it a 32.5% indirect ownership in eKabel’s network in the Frankfurt area.

NTL has now achieved just over 50% signup from the 6.3 million homes to which it has access in Europe.

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