Lego marches on with 15 per cent rise in profits

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The Independent Online

Lego, the toy maker, has delivered a leap in operating profits, as soaring demand for classic products and movie-themed lines helped it to buck the economic downturn.

Jogen Vig Knudstorp, the chief executive of the group, described its results as "highly satisfactory", boasting growth in the US and double digit sales rises in "most" European and Asian markets. He said that sales of licensed-based products, in particular, were "above expectations" last year, citing Star Wars, Harry Potter and Pirates of the Caribbean. Sales of classic lines, such as Lego City, Technic and Creator also "rose sharply".

Lego posted a 15 per cent jump in operating profits to £660m for the year to 31 December, on sales higher by 17 per cent to £2.18bn.

The toy firm expects its sales to continue growing in 2012. But the company said the performance of Lego Universe, the online game launched in late 2010, had fallen "below expectations", convincing it to halt development of the game in November.

Lego is owned by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansena and his children. He is the grandson of its founder, Ole Kirk Christiansen.