Photographer: Martin Divisek/Bloomberg

Making Lego, Brick by Brick

Lego, the Danish company known around the globe for its colorful building bricks, has enjoyed double-digit growth over the past five years. Just over a decade ago, though, it was losing nearly a million dollars a day. These days, through a partnership with Disney’s Star Wars, as well as expanding toy ranges, video game and movie tie-ups, Lego is Europe’s biggest toymaker. It plans to expand three factories to meet increased demand. Here we take a tour of the company’s factory in Kladno, the Czech Republic, as production ramps up ahead of the holidays. Photographs by Martin Divisek for Bloomberg

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    If considered a population, Lego minfigures would be the world's largest group - with over 5 billion having been produced.

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    The company will add about 3,000 workers to its site in Monterrey, Mexico, in an expansion plan through 2022 that will cost a "three-digit" million-euro amount. It will also invest in its Nyíregyháza factory in Hungary and in a site by its headquarters in Billund, Denmark.

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    Lego, which is owned by Denmark’s billionaire Kristiansen family, announced the expansion plans as it builds a factory in China to tap the Asian market.

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    In recent years the release of "The Lego Movie" as well as the launch of the "Friends" line aimed at girls has helped it win market share from U.S. rivals Mattel and Hasbro.

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    Laid end to end, the number of Lego bricks produced in 2014 would reach more than 24 times round the world.

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    According to Lego, there are 915 million ways to combine six Lego bricks of the same colour.

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    Lego, whose name is derived from the Danish words for "play well," has said it expects to outpace the global toy market, which is estimated to grow by low-single digits in the coming years.

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    Approximately 760 billion Lego pieces have been manufactured during the company's existence.

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    New products generate about 60 percent of Lego’s sales every year.

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    Wall clocks made of Lego bricks showing various world times hang in the reception area at the Kladno Lego factory. The facility opened in 2000.

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    A mock train station made of Lego in front of the factory in Kladno.

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    Lego says that on average, every person on earth owns 102 Lego bricks.