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August 17, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 7:37pm

NTL RAISES $875M TO COMPLETE AND EXPAND CABLE NETWORK

By CBR Staff Writer

New York-based cable operator NTL Inc has signed an $875m financing agreement with The Chase Manhattan Bank. $300m will be used to complete the company’s broadband networks, $165m will go on refinancing existing bank loans, $160m on prior and future expenditure on national and international build-out and $75m on the expansion of digital television, leaving $175m as a cushion for working capital. Meanwhile the company say it attributes its second quarter losses to costs related to converting to new prices and packaging plans in its key UK market. Despite recent talk of crisis in the fledgling UK Cable industry, NTL’s chief executive Barclay Knapp insists that the prognosis for the company remains good and that it’s basically on track in all segments, adding that it had still managed to maintain 10% growth in customer acquisitions. NTL’s CableTel operation said that its cable television penetration was up to 34% from 30.1% a year ago, compared to an industry average of around 22%. The company increased telephone penetration from 30% a year ago to 33.4% by the end of June 1997. Knapp said the company had added 42,000 customers in the second quarter alone bringing the total number of subscribers to over 240,000. Also in its UK telephony business, the company announced that it has completed testing and will soon launch its new 0800 and 0345 free call and cheap rate telephone numbers; Knapp described the move as a significant opportunity to capture business. The NTL boss said he expects to see greater synergy between broadcast and national telecoms over the coming year. NTL failed in its recent bid for the UK’s key commercial digital television licenses, however it confirmed it was looking to take a possible stake in S4C Digital Networks, winners of the final multiplex license (CI 3189), though it added that arrangements were certainly not finalized. Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports in the UK’s Independent newspaper quoted sources close to conglomerate United News and Media as saying it had ruled out merger talks with NTL and rivals Telewest Communications Plc.

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