Crown to sell stake in French network

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CROWN Communications Group, the troubled broadcasting company that owns LBC, has agreed to sell its stake in RFM, the French radio network.

The sale, for cash, must be approved by the Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA), the French radio authority.

David Haynes, chief executive, said he expected the CSA's decision within three weeks. Until then he could not disclose the price or the identity of the French buyer.

He blamed RFM for 'a very large portion of our losses' in the recent past.

Crown reported pre-tax losses of pounds 5.58m in the six months to 31 March and losses of pounds 6.79m in the year to 30 September 1991.

The Rt Hon Christopher Chataway, chairman, said in a statement, dated 12 May 1992, in the report and accounts for 1991: 'RFM further developed its radio network and by the end of the year had 89 stations throughout France. Audience figures have yet to reflect this development and advertising has followed more slowly than anticipated. RFM accounted for almost half of the group's losses during the year.'

Price Waterhouse, the company's auditors, qualified the accounts with the statement: 'Included within intangible fixed assets on the consolidated balance sheet is an amount of pounds 11.75m representing the group's investment in the radio masthead of RFM.

'In view of the uncertain trading conditions continuing to be experienced by RFM, we are unable to determine whether the radio masthead is fairly stated. In addition, we are unable to determine whether the company's investment in RFM amounting to pounds 16.04m is fairly stated.'

The shares were unchanged at 7p.