Cabler's 1st qtr. report positive, still in red

NEW YORK — United Pan-European Communications, Europe’s largest cabler, said Wednesday that losses narrowed for the first quarter, as the cash-strapped company continues talking with bondholders about ways to restructure its balance sheet.

UPC lost ?491.5 million ($448 million) vs. a loss of $541 million the year earlier. Revenue rose 3.8% to $315 million.

UPC is majority-owned by Denver-based holding entity UnitedGlobalCom, which, in turn, is majority-owned by John Malone’s Liberty Media.

UPC’s red ink is another reminder that the media mogul may have invested too much, too fast, in European cable. Liberty also owns a piece of struggling U.K. cable group Telewest. Malone had a deal fall through to buy German cable systems from Deutsche Telekom.

Amsterdam-based UPC was recently delisted from the Nasdaq market and trades as a penny stock. Like many of its peers, it spent heavily to expand and roll out new services, racking up lots of debt.

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