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Cabler NTL trims loss

Co. manages to increase earnings by 48%

LONDON — NTL, the U.K.’s largest cable operator, reported Monday a modest £3 million ($4.7 million) rise in revenue to $3.4 billion in 2002 and a loss of $2.34 billion, down from $11.5 billion a year earlier.

Company managed to increase its earnings before tax, interest, depreciation and amortization by 48% to $993 million last year by cost reductions of $265 million year on year. It carries debt of $6.4 billion.

Cable operator also managed to reduce churn rate to 15.9% in the fourth quarter of 2002 from 21.3% a year earlier. Company now has 2.7 million customers, 658,000 of whom are broadband users.

“We worked hard in the back half of 2002 to position the company for success upon emergence from Chapter 11 in January,” said NTL prexy-CEO Barclay Knapp. “We cut costs, improved our products and customer services and focused capital spending on generating high, near-term cash returns. Our year-end results and our good start in 2003 show that these efforts are paying off.”

Knapp refused to comment about a merger with rival Telewest, which last week reported a loss of $3.4 billion and is undergoing its own restructuring.

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