Disney princesses, Star Wars propel Hasbro results

(Reuters) - Hasbro Inc HAS.O, the No. 2 U.S. toymaker, reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue, driven by strong demand for "Star Wars" action figures and the addition of Disney Princess dolls to its basket of toys.

A Transformers statue stands on display at the Hasbro booth during the 2014 Comic-Con International Convention in San Diego, California July 25, 2014. REUTERS/Sandy Huffaker

Shares of the company, which also makes the Monopoly board game and My Little Pony toys, were up 4.6 percent at $86.20 in premarket trading on Monday.

Hasbro holds a number of lucrative licensing deals for making toys based on blockbuster franchises such as “Jurassic Park”, “Star Wars” and “Avengers”.

The company last year edged out larger rival Mattel Inc MAT.O for a license to make dolls based on Walt Disney Co's DIS.N popular princesses such as Cinderella and Snow White.

Hasbro began selling Disney Princess and “Frozen” dolls in the latest quarter, helping sales of girls toys rise for the first time in six quarters.

The company expects sales from “Star Wars” merchandise this year to retain strong momentum with the launch of home entertainment versions of “The Force Awakens” in the spring and the release of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” in December.

Revenue from toys targeted at boys jumped 24 percent, driven by toy guns under the “NERF” brand and figurines based on “Star Wars” films.

Net income attributable to Hasbro rose to $48.8 million, or 38 cents per share, in the first quarter ended March 27 from $26.7 million, or 21 cents per share, a year earlier.

Net revenue rose 16.5 percent $831.2 million from $713.5 million.

Analysts on average expected a profit of 24 cents per share and revenue of $777.1 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Up to Friday’s close, Hasbro’s shares had risen about 25 percent over the past 12 months.

Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva