Crown's radio sale hits snag

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CROWN Communications, the troubled broadcasting company that owns the London radio station LBC, has been prevented from concluding a quick sale of its stake in RFM, the French radio company, by the local radio authority, writes Rupert Bruce.

Selling RFM is seen as vital to Crown's future. It was the source of almost half of Crown's pounds 6.79m losses in 1991, according to the annual report.

David Haynes, chief executive, said the Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel had forbidden the sale of 100 per cent of RFM to the purchaser, NRG, the third largest French radio network. But Crown might still be able to sell its 49 per cent stake to NRG.

Price Waterhouse qualified the 1991 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 . . . 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.'