Cable & Wireless profit soars

April merger significantly aided figures

LONDON — Cable & Wireless Communications, the U.K.’s biggest cable operator, has released positive results for the six months ending Sept. 30 — figures significantly buoyed by its April merger.

For the half-year, CWC reported pretax profits up 103% to £65 million ($108.5 million) on sales up 12% to $1.85 billion.

CWC was formed in April when the British telco Mercury Communications — whose parent was the international telco Cable & Wireless — merged with cablers Nynex, Bell Cablemedia and Videotron.

“They have achieved better cost savings than most people anticipated,” said Jim Ross, an analyst with Hoare Garett, who also described as “encouraging” CWC’s current marketing success in offering smaller trial channel packages to consumers, as well as its recent deal with satcaster BSkyB on pay-per-view services and the launch of 200 digital channels come spring.

CWC’s debt stood at $3.67 billion at the end of the period and is expected to rise to more than $4 billion by the end of 1997.

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