Virgin Media's net losses double

Revenue down $1.57 bil in the quarter

LONDON -- U.K. cable group Virgin Media announced net losses doubled to 120 million pounds ($190 million) in the three months to the end of September, on revenue down at 991 million pounds ($1.57 billion) from 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) at the same stage last year.

Virgin said the losses were due to write-downs in the value of its mobile business and "unfavorable" foreign exchange rates.

The Nasdaq-listed company, which operates in the U.K., said it had added 37,800 TV subscribers over the quarter, but reported "slower growth in the overall broadband market," one of its key areas of anticipated revenue growth.

Broadband additions were significantly down at 68,700 over the period, compared with 115,800 a year ago, but Virgin said it was focusing on increasing its higher bandwidth subscriber packages, with the number of customers on its top-tier broadband package up by 78%.

Churn levels -- the number of customers quitting the service each month -- decreased from 1.7% a year ago to 1.5%.

Virgin chief Neil Berkett said the results were "solid" and said that the company was braced for a downturn.

"In the face of a slowdown in the general economy, our business has shown good resilience and we are focused on keeping churn low, improving our operational execution and driving unnecessary costs and inefficiencies out of the business."

Virgin announced this month that it had secured an agreement from its bank to postpone repayments on its 4.3 billion pound ($6.8 billion) debt until 2012.
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