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Virgin Media Revenue Advances 2.8% on Cable Customer Additions

Virgin Media Inc., the U.K.’s second-largest pay-television company, reported third-quarter sales rose 2.8 percent as it kept more cable customers.

Revenue rose to 1.03 billion pounds ($1.65 billion) from 1 billion pounds, the company said in a statement today. That was in line with the average analyst estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

Virgin Media, based in Hook, England, reported net cable customer additions of 39,500 in the quarter compared with 6,300 a year earlier. While the company is attracting the same number of new subscribers, it has reduced customer defections, Chief Financial Officer Eamonn O’Hare said in an interview.

“New customer additions was pretty much the same as a year ago, but we had less customers leave us,” O’Hare said. “The truth is today, they look around and say they can’t get much better for less.”

The company has been making its Internet service, advertised by runners Usain Bolt and Mo Farah, more attractive for customers by increasing Web speeds. O’Hare said that 44 percent of new customers chose to take the company’s fastest broadband product.

Free cash flow declined 11 percent to 120 million pounds in the quarter as the company invested in building out its network. Operating cash flow rose 6.1 percent from a year earlier to 423 million pounds.

Mobile revenue declined 3.1 percent to 137 million pounds and the business division increased sales 9.5 percent to 169 million pounds.

Virgin Media rose 7 cents to $32.87 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading yesterday. The shares gained 54 percent this year through yesterday.

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