Thursday October 14, 6:20 pm Eastern Time

Hasbro Revenues Soar

Associated Press Writer

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Hasbro Inc.'s (NYSE:HAS - news) third-quarter earnings climbed about 40 percent from a year ago, driven by demand for its Furby dolls, computer games and toys tied to ``Star Wars'' and Pokemon.

The nation's second-largest toymaker earned $85 million, or 43 cents a share, in the quarter ended Sept. 26, compared with $61 million, or 30 cents a share, a year ago.

The 1998 results included a $13.6 million charge tied to its purchase of MicroProse Inc.

Sales grew to $1.09 billion from $945.5 million for the same period a year ago.

Hasbro's earnings matched Wall Street analysts' expectations. Its stock, however, fell $1.68 3/4, or 8 percent, to $19.25 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange amid concerns that its earnings' growth will slow in the coming months.

It's been a strong year for Hasbro, thanks to the popularity of many of its products. While sales at Hasbro have soared, its rival -- No. 1 toymaker Mattel (NYSE:MAT - news) -- has disappointed Wall Street with weak sales and earnings.

Furby, which was the blockbuster hit of last Christmas, continues to sell well, and the line of talking, furry dolls was extended during the third quarter to include Furby Babies.

Sales of its toys tied to ``Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace'' have also been strong and it has seen double-digit sales growth in its Hasbro Interactive division, which makes computer games.

Also lifting earnings are its toys based on the popular Japanese cartoon Pokemon, including plush dolls and games. Hasbro will significantly expand its Pokemon line during the fourth quarter, including a new Pokemon Monopoly game and a Pokemon electronic organizer.

Hasbro also plans more growth in the Pokemon category thanks to its $325 million purchase last month of Wizards of the Coast, which sells Pokemon cards as well as the popular games, Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons.

For the first nine months of the year, Hasbro earned $131.3 million, or 64 cents a share, compared with $88.2 million, or 36 cents a share. Sales were $2.6 billion, up from $2 billion.

Hasbro, which is based in Pawtucket, R.I., makes toys under the Playskool, Kenner, Tonka, Milton Bradley, Parker Brothers, Tiger and Galoob toy and game brands.

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Article is quoted from Yahoo News and is not edited in any way.
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