Hasbro toys to get more expensive as costs surge

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Illustration photo of a Monopoly board game by Hasbro Gaming
A Monopoly board game by Hasbro Gaming is seen in this illustration photo August 13, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration

April 27 (Reuters) - Hasbro Inc (HAS.O) said on Tuesday it would raise prices of toys and games to counter higher raw material costs as the company sees surging demand for its Nerf blasters and board games from families spending more time at home.

Shares of the Monopoly maker, which late on Monday announced the sale of Entertainment One Music to Blackstone Group Inc (BX.N) for $385 million, rose 1% in morning trading.

The toymaker, like most U.S. manufacturers, has had to contend with rising resin, packaging and metal prices, as well as soaring transportation costs due to high demand and supply disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rival Mattel Inc (MAT.O) last week had flagged expectations for a "significant impact" to margins from higher resin prices and ocean freight charges.

"Freight and input cost increases have become more pronounced over the past several months, and we have plans in place to help mitigate those costs, including price increases for the second half of the year," Hasbro Chief Financial Officer Deborah Thomas said.

Demand for toys has remained robust more than one year into the pandemic, with the company reporting a 14% rise in first-quarter sales in its consumer products unit.

Excluding certain items, Hasbro earned $1 per share, above analysts' average estimate of 65 cents, according to a Refinitiv IBES estimate.

A drop in advertising around films and TV shows due to the pandemic-forced production delays and theater closures also aided in the profit beat.

However, net revenue rose just 1% to $1.11 billion in the quarter, missing analysts' estimates of $1.17 billion, as the delays and closures hurt the company's entertainment production revenue.

Hasbro, like Mattel, said it saw “substantial” opportunity in non-fungible tokens (NFTs) for some of its collectible brands, looking to tap into the explosive growth in popularity of the digital asset.

Reporting by Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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Uday has been reporting on U.S. retail and consumer companies for over five years and has written multiple analysis pieces on the space, including about a flurry of mergers in the toy industry, how an aging population benefited the golf industry and how weak sales from retailers spooked global markets. Uday has a bachelor's degree in commerce from Christ University Bangalore, India.