Toy Maker Lego Sees Profits Soar in 2009, More to Come in 2010

Growth driven by classic product lines and board games.

Europe's biggest traditional toy maker, Lego, on Thursday presented its strongest earnings reports ever for 2009, just a few years after fierce competition from electronic games nearly brought it down.

"Our results in 2009 have been highly satisfactory," company chief Joergen Vig Knudstorp said in an earnings statement.

The family-owned company, based in the western Danish town of Billund, built on a solid 2008 performance, posting a 63% hike in net profits for last year to 2.2 billion kroner (US$404 million).

The company, which registered strong growth in virtually all markets, saw sales jump 22.4% to 11.6 billion kroner in 2009.

Lego has undergone major restructuring in recent years after reporting huge losses in 2003 and 2004 due to stiff competition from hugely popular high-tech computer games.

In a sign that the company expects the turn-around to stick, it said it had increased employees worldwide by nearly 40% last year to 7,056.

The company said it had its traditional lines of colorful toy bricks, including Duplo and Lego Creator, to thank for its success, as well as its new launch of games such as Lego Power Minders and Lego Games.

"We can be pleased by strong global growth which is driven by the classic product lines and, in addition, our launch of Lego board games has got off to a really good start," Vig Knudstorp said, forecasting more growth going forward.

"Based on the good results in 2009 and our sales during the first months of 2010, we also expect sizeable growth this year," he said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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