Mattel share price soars to 14-year high

Sales rise in Europe as firm reports "another great year".
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Shares in toy giant Mattel hit a 14-year high after the company revealed its 2012 financial results last Friday. 

Its share price on the NASDAQ US stock exchange closed at $38.26 on Friday, February 1st, its highest since June 1998. Shares have risen three-fold from $11.53 in March 2009.

Revenues rose four per cent in Europe and two per cent worldwide for the year. Operating income reached $1.02 billion, down marginally year-on-year from $1.04 billion in 2011.

Worldwide gross sales in 2012 for Barbie dropped three per cent, while Hot Wheels climbed two per cent, Fisher-Price rose four per cent and American Girl increased 11 per cent. 

Sales of "Other Girls Brands" - including Monster High - rose 57 per cent.

During Q4 2012, operating income stood at $373.5 million (adjusted to $511.3 million), compared to $497.5 million generated in Q4 2011. Net sales in Q4 were up five per cent year-on-year.

For shareholders, the board declared 2013 first quarter cash dividends of $0.36 per share, or an annualised dividend of $1.44 per share. This represents a 16 per cent rise over 2011.

"We had another great year at Mattel with record sales for both total company and our international division, stronger gross margins and our second year of more than $1 billion in operating profit," said Bryan G. Stockton, chairman and CEO of Mattel. 

"These results are particularly gratifying given the challenging global economic and cost environment."

Mattel says it aims to grow core brands, entertainment properties, new franchises and international sales in 2013.

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