October 20, 2014 / 11:49 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 2-Transformers, Marvel toys power Hasbro quarterly profit

(Adds analysts’ comments, details, shares)

By Nayan Das

Oct 20 (Reuters) - Hasbro Inc, the second-largest U.S. toymaker, reported a strong quarterly profit, driven by robust sales of Marvel and Transformers action figures in emerging markets such as Latin America and the Asia Pacific region.

The company’s shares rose as much as 4.26 percent in morning trading on Monday.

Hasbro’s results were stronger than those of larger rival Mattel Inc, which last week posted its fourth straight quarterly fall in sales.

Mattel has been facing a three-year slump in sales of its Barbie dolls. The company’s other dolls, such as American Girl and the Monster High line, have failed to make up for Barbie’s falling market share.

Hasbro, in contrast, reported a 5 percent rise in third-quarter sales in its girls’ category, driven by sales of My Little Pony and the “Hunger Games” inspired Nerf Rebelle bow and arrow toys.

Mattel’s Barbie brand has peaked and the company’s product line is not as exciting as it once was, MKM Partners’ analyst Eric Handler said.

Hasbro’s movie franchise-based toys are a stronger driver of revenue growth than Mattel’s core toy brands.

Hasbro’s boys’ toys also performed well, getting a boost from film releases such as “Transformers: Age of Extinction” and Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” earlier this year.

Hasbro owns the “Transformers” brand and holds toy licenses for Marvel Comics characters such as Spider-Man and Iron Man, which have had phenomenal box office success over the past few years.

Sales of boys’ toys, Hasbro’s largest business, rose 22 percent to $478.5 million in the quarter, driven by strong sales of Marvel and Transformers action figures.

Analysts said Hasbro’s results showed the company had recovered from an inventory glut following the 2013 holiday shopping season - considered to be the toughest since the recession.

Hasbro is better placed than Mattel ahead of this year’s holiday shopping season, they said.

“Hasbro has definitely recovered from the inventory pile-up last year ... whereas Mattel is still working through the effects of last year’s holiday season, where they had too much inventory,” Eric Handler said.

Overall, Hasbro’s third-quarter sales rose 7.3 percent to $1.47 billion, while those of Mattel fell 7 percent in the same period.

Net income attributable to Hasbro rose 43 percent to $180.5 million, or $1.40 per share, in third quarter ended Sept. 28. Excluding items, Hasbro earned $1.46 per share, beating the analysts’ average estimate by one cent.

Sales in North America, which accounts for more than half of total revenue, rose 4 percent to $764.3 million.

International revenue rose 11 percent, driven by 24 percent growth in Latin America and 11 percent growth in the Asia Pacific region.

Hasbro’s shares were up 4 percent at $56 at 1.56 p.m. ET on Monday. Up to Friday’s close, the stock had fallen 2.1 percent this year.

Mattel shares had fallen about 40 percent. (Additional reporting by Shailaja Sharma and Ramkumar Iyer in Bangalore; Editing by Simon Jennings)

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