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NTL says it can pay its debts
after double blow from City

LONDON - NTL said it was fully able to meet all of its payments, following a double header of negative comments from City institutions, which sent the struggling cable operator's share price spiralling downwards.

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In a statement issued to shore up investor confidence, NTL reiterated that it was "fully able to meet all of its current trade obligations and interest payments".

Yesterday, Standard & Poor's cut NTL's long-term corporate credit ratings to B- from B+ and its bonds to CCC from B-. It also changed its outlook on the company to "negative" from "stable".

In addition, Goldman Sachs's European high-yield credit and distressed credit research team said it expect NTL to restructure its £12bn debt "sometime in early 2002".

NTL's shares fell as much as 20% to $0.69 on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday -- today, it was down 26.4% to $0.64.

"NTL notes with disappointment the action taken by Standard & Poor's and the published opinions of Goldman Sachs," the statement said.

It added that the recently announced cost-reduction programme within its UK operations is an "output from a revised business plan".

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