Mattel Grows 4Q Profits 14%, Hikes Dividend

By RetailFOXBusiness

Boosted by improving margins and rising international sales, toy company Mattel (NYSE:MAT) posted a stronger-than-expected 14% jump in fourth-quarter profits on Tuesday.

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The earnings beat, combined with a 35% hike in its dividend payout, sent shares of El Segundo, Calif.-based Mattel jumping 5% to a 52-week high.

The maker of Barbie and Hot Wheels said it earned $370.6 million, or $1.07 a share, compared with a profit of $325.2 million, or 89 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts had forecasted a profit of $1.01 a share.

Revenue inched 1.4% higher to $2.15 billion, but that trailed the Street’s view of $2.22 billion.  U.S. sales slipped 2%, while international revenue jumped 5%.

Mattel said its gross margins jumped to 53.9% from 51.6%.

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“Mattel delivered another strong year, our third consecutive year of solid performance, which I am especially pleased about given the soft global economic backdrop and the highly promotional environment, particularly in the U.S.,” CEO Bryan Stockton said in a statement. “Despite these challenges, for the year we delivered strong revenue growth and record operating income.”

Mattel said global sales of Barbie climbed 6% last quarter, while worldwide Hot Wheels revenue soared 11%. The company said its core Fisher-Price sales slipped 3% and American Girl revenue was up 4%.

Shareholders cheered as Mattel boosted its quarterly dividend to 31 cents from 23 cents.

Mattel’s stock was trading 5.35% higher to $31.05 Tuesday morning, adding on to its 52-week surge of almost 25%.

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