Capital Radio cues up nine months of revenue growth

Capital Radio expects to see nine months of revenue growth, providing further evidence of a recovery in advertising markets.

Trading in the October to December quarter saw sales up 5 per cent compared with the same period in 2002 and following on from a positive July-September period.

The company, one of the big three radio operators, added in a trading update yesterday that January revenues were up 1 per cent, while February and March should show "modest growth, to result in nine months of year-on-year growth".

However, Capital's performance is still lacklustre compared with some of its competitors. Scottish Radio Holdings recently announced a 10.5 per cent sales rise for the final four months of 2003. Chrysalis yesterday reported that revenues were up 19 per cent for the five months from 1 September to 31 January.

Richard Menzies-Gow, an analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, said: "Capital is clearly still underperforming the market by some way. This principally reflects the impact of declining audiences over the last 18 months."

While Capital had regained some lost ground, he said it still had to manage a "critical period" in April when Chris Tarrant, its star breakfast show host on 95.8 FM, handed over to Johnny Vaughan.