Lego outgrows Hasbro, Mattel as ‘Star Wars’ sets boost profit
By Christian Wienberg Bloomberg News
COPENHAGEN - Lego A/S, Europe’s biggest toymaker, boosted profit and market share last year to outgrow its main competitors, helped by sales of building-block sets based on “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter” themes.
Net income jumped 12 percent to a record 4.16 billion kroner ($747 million) in 2011, the Billund, Denmark-based company said today in a statement. Revenue rose 17 percent to 18.7 billion kroner.
Lego grew faster than Mattel Inc. and Hasbro Inc., the world’s largest toymakers, which both reported 7 percent growth in 2011 sales. The Danish company said Thursday it boosted its global market share to 7.1 percent from 5.9 percent in 2010 and that it expects sales to increase this year.
“Growth in the North American market continued undiminished, and also in most European and Asian markets we were able to report double-digit increases in sales,” CEO Joergen Vig Knudstorp said in the statement. “Sales of license-based product lines in particular were well above expectations in 2011.”
Lego has bought licenses from moviemakers including Lucasfilm Ltd. and Walt Disney Co. to base building-block sets on film characters. Sales of “Pirates of the Caribbean” sets also exceeded the company’s forecasts.
Lego said the European toy market will be “flat or slightly declining” in 2012 because of the debt crisis, and that there will be “modest” growth in the rest of the world.