(Adds details of 2014 lineup, CEO, analyst comments, stock
By Dhanya Skariachan
Feb 10 Hasbro Inc touted a series of
toys based on the fourth "Transformers" sequel and other
upcoming films, overshadowing concern about its weak North
American holiday season and sending its shares up nearly 6
Earlier on Monday, the stock had fallen after the maker of
Nerf foam toys and Monopoly board games posted
lower-than-expected results for the fourth quarter, when the
company and its peers typically make about 40 percent of their
"2014 is the first of a robust multiyear entertainment slate
for our boys brands," Hasbro Chief Executive Officer Brian
Goldner said on a call with analysts and investors.
"Transformers: Age of Extinction" is scheduled for release
in the summer and will feature new characters and story lines.
Hasbro also has rights to make toys tied to movies from
Marvel Studios, including "Captain America: The Winter Soldier"
and a new franchise called "Guardians of the Galaxy," as well as
Sony's "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."
Many on Wall Street chose to focus on Hasbro's growth
prospects in 2014 rather than the holiday weakness.
"The bull story on this has been about 2014," said MKM
Partners LLC analyst Eric Handler. "People are feeling good
He said he saw more catalysts for growth for the
second-largest U.S. toy company over larger rival Mattel Inc
Hasbro is also bound to gain from its partnership with
Lucasfilm, which will unveil the new "Star Wars Rebels"
television series in late 2014, analysts said.
The latest U.S. holiday season turned out to be one of the
weakest since 2008, when the U.S. economy was reeling from a
recession. Bad weather, limited discretionary dollars for many
shoppers and six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas
in 2013 hurt sales for many companies.
Mattel missed analysts' expectations in the quarter covering
the key selling season.
Hasbro said its net earnings fell to $129.8 million, or 98
cents a share, in the fourth quarter from $130.3 million, or 99
cents a share, a year earlier.
Excluding restructuring charges and other items, Hasbro
earned $1.12 a share, missing the analysts' average estimate of
$1.22, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales were flat at $1.28 billion, while analysts expected
Industrywide, demand was particularly weak for action
figures and preschool toys, two important categories for Mattel
Shares of Hasbro were up 5.8 percent at $53.02 in midday
(Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)