Shares in NTL plummeted by almost 22 per cent after credit rating agency Standard & Poor (S&P) downgraded the company for the second time in six months. NTL's shares fell about 19 cents, down to 68 cents, leaving it valued at roughly $200m.
S&P has now given NTL a 'B' rating, down from 'BB minus', and said that the company may need to restructure. Only last month Moody's Investors Service lowered NTL's rating to 'CCC' down from 'B'.
However, the company's main lenders, including Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, JP Morgan and Royal Bank of Scotland, are thought to be comfortable with the situation.
Analysts are apparently saying that NTL is not in danger of breaching banking covenants and can meet heavy interest payments until 2003.
But S&P added that an expected capital expenditure of $2.6bn over the next two years could mean that debt levels are set to increase. NTL is therefore expected to raise more cash if it is to hit profitability by 2003.
The company said earlier this week that it was cutting a further 2,000 jobs in a bid to reduce debt.
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