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NTL warns on funding

Cabler may run out of money before restructure

LONDON — U.K. cabler NTL has warned it may burn through its remaining cash before it completes the planned restructuring of its crippling £12 billion ($17 million) debt.

If the company fails to raise fresh funding from new investors, it will have to go into administration. That could be the preferred state of play for take over contenders such as Liberty Media and Microsoft.

The warning came as NTL posted profits before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization for 2001 of £492 million ($701 million), compared to $326 million the previous year. Sales were $3.56 billion, up from $2.69 billion.

But Britain’s no. 1 cable operator took $11.4 billion in exceptional charges in the year, as well as a write-down $10.8 billion, leading to a pre-tax loss of $15.8 billion, compared to $3 billion in 2000.

Telewest, the U.K.’s other cabler, is carrying debt of about $7 billion, and may also be forced to restructure.

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