Cable float revived

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GENERAL CABLE, the British-based cable company owned by the French utility, Compagnie Generale des Eaux, is believed to be reviving plans for a stock market flotation, writes David Hellier.

A pounds 500m plan to float was delayed in May because of weakness in the stock market and 'technical details'.

According to sources close to the company, advisers at Lazards, the merchant bank advising on the aborted float in May, believe that a flotation could go ahead as soon as the first quarter of the new year.

General Cable has interests in cable franchises in London, Windsor, Yorkshire and Birmingham and is the sixth largest cable operator by number of homes.

There is also speculation that Telewest, which announced that it was also delaying a UK flotation in May, may review its plans. The company said that it would reconsider a flotation once the climate was right.

The City view is that the conditions for new issues are improving and that the cable companies, which require a lot of capital, may be among the companies to take advantage in an upturn in the market.