Sept 05 - Danish toymaker Lego has overtaken Hasbro to become the world's second-biggest toy maker after reporting a 13% rise in first-half sales. Hayley Platt reports.
It's multi-coloured bricks have been delighting children for years. But it's the digital world, computer games and tie-ups with movie franchises, that's also helped it become the world's second biggest toy maker behind America's Mattel. Despite a shrinking market it overtook America's Hasbro with a first half sales increase of 13%. Lego CFO John Goodwin says its range, including 'Legends of Chima' and 'Friends', is helping to drive growth. SOUNDBITE: John Goodwin, CFO, saying (English): "We're very pleased with those product lines that are coming in, obviously our main stays of City and Star Wars continue to be the key engines for us but the new product lines are also performing very well and also we're getting some great traction in the Asia region." Slow sales in Europe and North America were offset by a boom in Asia - sales there soared by 35 percent. Since 2007 Lego's overall sales have tripled. It's kept costs low by shifting production to eastern european countries like the Czech Republic and more recently Hungary. It's also planning its first China factory next year. SOUNDBITE: John Goodwin, CFO, saying (English): "Asia hasn't been a major focus for us up until this point. But we see now as with the emerging middle class and more and more consumers that are really interested in the consumer products we think that now is the perfect timing for us to expand our presence in that region." The Danish brand is still family-owned - it's run by the grandson of Lego's founder He's been steadily building the company's market share - it now stands at 8.8%.