Lego Beats Hasbro as World’s No. 2 Toymaker Amid Asia Sales Jump

Lego A/S, the Danish building-block maker, said first-half sales jumped 13 percent with the strongest growth in Asia amid a slower start to 2013 in the toy markets of North America and Europe.

Lego’s first-half revenue rose to 10.4 billion kroner ($1.84 billion) from 9.13 billion kroner in the same period a year earlier, according to a statement published today by the Billund, Denmark-based company.

Lego, which estimates the world’s children spend 5 billion hours a year playing with its toys, said it won market share on rising sales of its new building-block line Legends of Chima and its Lego Friends sets. The latter series, introduced in 2012, is Lego’s sixth attempt over the years to target girls and the “most significant” new product in a decade, Chief Executive Officer Joergen Vig Knudstorp has said.

“It’s a very satisfactory result in view of general developments in the world toy market which has had a slow start to the year in the largest and most mature markets of North America, Europe and Japan,” Knudstorp said in today’s statement.

Sales growth in Lego Friends was “significantly higher” than the company average, Lego said. Legends of Chima, introduced this year, has become one of Lego’s largest products and the company said it expects sales will continue to grow. The range features animal tribes battling for control of a world and offers a number of different sets.

Higher Share

Lego, which is closely held, said it boosted its global market share to 8.8 percent in the first half from 8.6 percent at the end of last year. The company is controlled by Denmark’s richest man Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, the grandson of Lego founder Ole Kirk Kristiansen, who has a net worth of $6.4 billion, according to Bloomberg rankings.

Lego’s first-half sales were higher than those of Hasbro Inc. The Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based toymaker reported sales of $1.43 billion for the same six-month period on July 22. Mattel Inc., the world’s largest toymaker which is based in El Segundo, California, on July 17 reported a 4 percent advance in first half revenue to $2.16 billion.

Lego’s net income grew 18 percent in the first six month of 2013 to 2.38 billion kroner, making the company bigger than both Mattel and Hasbro in terms of profit.