NTL to issue tracking stock in US

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The Independent Online

NTL, Britain's largest cable television operator, plans to issue a tracking stock on the Nasdaq market in the US in order to buy broadcasting transmission networks from governments around the world.

NTL, Britain's largest cable television operator, plans to issue a tracking stock on the Nasdaq market in the US in order to buy broadcasting transmission networks from governments around the world.

NTL , which is quoted on Nasdaq but has no London listing, said the stock would reflect the performance of its broadcast services division and have no relation to its cable interests. The stock is expected to be issued later this year or early next.

The move would enable NTL to raise fresh funds for acquisitions. NTL has already indulged in a huge buying spree which has seen it snap up Cable & Wireless Communications in the UK as well as stakes in Premier League football clubs such as Newcastle United. With debts of $10bn, the tracking stock will give NTL more room for manoeuvre.

"We believe the tracking stock will highlight the value of the individual business and provide us with a currency for future acquisitions," said Barclay Knapp, NTL's chief executive.

NTL's broadcast division owns the transmission towers which broadcast Channels Three, Four and Five in the UK. It has also bought Australia's exclusive provider of TV and radio transmission services when the government privatised the industry there. NTL says the division has a record order book of more than $2.8bn.

The tracking stock will trade separately from NTL's shares. NTL will retain full ownership of the division and the tracking stock will carry no voting or dividend rights.

NTL reported increased net losses of $663.8m in the three months to 30 June compared to $363.8m in the same quarter last year. Revenues rose to $419m for the quarter, up from $196m last year. NTL said it had 4.48 million customers, including 230,000 digital television subscribers and 1.31 million internet users.

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