* Pretax profit leaps nearly 70 pct to 4.89 bln crowns
* Revenue up 37 pct to 16.01 bln
* Company says global market share rose to 5.9 pct
COPENHAGEN, March 3 (Reuters) - Lego reported a near 70 percent jump in 2010 pretax earnings on Thursday and said it won market share on the back of new products such as movie-themed character sets and board games.
Pretax profit jumped to 4.89 billion Danish crowns ($914.5 million) from 2.89 billion in 2009, the maker of the brightly coloured, snap-together building blocks said in a statement.
Revenue grew 37.3 percent from the previous year to 16.01 billion crowns, as the company branches out from construction sets into Pirates of the Caribbean characters, video games and toys such as racing cars.
“In a global toy market making a slow recovery, the company succeeded once again in capturing market share and is now the world’s fourth largest toy manufacturer,” said the privately owned Danish toymaker, whose bigger rivals are U.S. toymaker Mattel (MAT.O), Japan’s Namco Bandai (7832.T) and U.S. manufacturer Hasbro (HAS.O).
Lego’s share of global spending on children’s toys rose to about 5.9 percent at the end of 2010 from 4.8 percent a year before, it said.
A new board game series based on Lego bricks, called Lego Games, introduced in selected markets in 2009, was launched globally in 2010 and achieved significant sales growth, Lego said. But all product lines saw growth, it added.
“The result is extremely satisfactory and is due in part to vigorous growth in markets such as the United States, the UK, Russia and eastern Europe — all identified as growth markets for the company,” Chief Executive Jorgen Vig Knudstorp said in the statement.
The group has captured market share in all areas and has seen double-digit percentage growth in Europe, even though European consumers already own the most Lego bricks, it said.
“In 2011 modest growth is expected in the global market for traditional toys and the Lego group also expects sales to increase during the year — although not at the rate enjoyed in 2010,” the company said. (Reporting by John Acher; Editing by David Holmes) ($1=5.347 Danish crowns)