NTL seeks $500 mil in new funding

Debt-ridden cabler now has 750,000 digital subs

LONDON — NTL, the U.K.’s no. 1 cable operator, is raising additional funding by issuing $500 million in bonds.

The cabler, which is carrying roughly $13 billion in debt, has also announced that it had sales of £622 million ($907 million) for the first quarter of 2001, up 6%, and that it ended the period with 757,000 digital TV subscriptions in the U.K. and Ireland. Full quarterly results will be released Thursday.

NTL is listed on the the New York stock exchange as well as Nasdaq Europe.

Issuing the bonds, convertible to stock in 2008, is intended to provide cash for NTL’s business operations and comes as the company is understood to be upping the number of staff it will cut to 3,000 this year.

Last month, NTL secured a $386 million loan from U.S. investor GE Capital.

NTL chief exec Barclay Knapp is under pressure from investors to cut NTL’s losses, last year totaling $2.7 billion.

Knapp has a history of taking debt in stride. Over the past 18 months, NTL has bought 11 companies across Europe in a bid to become a pan-European business.

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