Capital eyes rival radio stations but profits fall 27%

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The Independent Online

Capital Radio is keen to acquire the radio stations of its rival Emap, despite reporting a sharp fall in its own profits.

The company said yesterday it had entered the current downturn in a stronger position than competitors. David Mansfield, Capital's chief executive, said: "I'd be interested in Emap's radio assets if they were for sale and in the right circumstances."

He said that while Capital's immediate focus was on growing in Britain, he was also interested in merging his company with the extensive European radio assets of RTL.

"We'd love to be Europe's largest pure-play radio group," Mr Mansfield said. But he stressed that no discussions were taking place on either deal.

Capital announced that underlying pre-tax profit for the year ended 30 September plummeted by 27 per cent to £30.1m. In the second half, like-for-like advertising revenues dropped 13 per cent. The results also suffered from the incorporation of previous loss-making acquisitions. Mr Mansfield said: "Revenue next year will be less than this year ... but at present we are unable to forecast with any degree of accuracy for December and beyond."

The company said that net debt of £32.9m was comfortable with interest cover on continuing businesses of 13 times.