London-based Capital Radio yesterday announced plans to expand in the UK and in Europe.

The company will begin to seek minority stakes in other radio groups in the run-up to the expected deregulation of commercial radio in 2002.

Existing rules prohibit Capital from acquiring more than one major regional station, but it can buy stakes of under 20% in other stations before the anticipated liberalisation. Commented chief executive David Mansfield: “Waiting for deregulation is not going to get in the way of Capital growth”.

On the possibility of overseas expansion, he said: “We now are confident enough to start looking outside the UK,” adding that growth in Europe would most likely be through partnership deals.

Capital also plans to use its digital licences across the UK to expand its Xfm station into a national network.

The announcements came as the group posted a rise in underlying pre-tax profits from £39.7 million to £41.3m in the year to September.

News source: The Times (London)