UPDATE 5-Hasbro optimistic about 2010; shares soar

* Q4 EPS $1.09 vs Wall Street view 81 cents

* Sales up 12 pct at $1.38 billion

* Sees EPS, revenue growing in 2010

* Shares up about 13.8 pct at $35.05
(Adds graphic)

By Dhanya Skariachan

NEW YORK, Feb 8 (BestGrowthStock) – Hasbro Inc (HAS.N: ) posted a
much stronger-than-expected quarterly profit and said the
momentum in its games and its toys for boys would help 2010
profit and revenue rise, sending its shares up nearly 14
percent.

The upbeat forecast in an “entertainment-light” year for
Hasbro — with toys tied to the releases of only two movies
“Iron Man 2” and “Toy Story 3” — cheered investors, boosting
its stock to the highest level since September 2008.

Demand for toys tied to the “Transformers” movie,
meanwhile, helped boost the fourth quarter.

The No. 2 toymaker behind Mattel Inc (MAT.O: ) also hopes to
benefit from its joint venture with Discovery Communications
Inc (DISCA.O: ) to form a new children’s television network —
The Hub — and the creation of Hasbro Studios.

It also sees its presence in emerging markets and key
long-term licenses aiding future growth.

On a conference call, Hasbro said it expects the sales
momentum in the holiday quarter at its games business to
continue into 2010 and added that its boys business should be
“very robust” in the period.

“2010 guidance is pleasantly surprising,” Timothy Conder,
an analyst with Wells Fargo, said in an e-mail.

Conder said the announcement for the autumn 2010 line-up
for The Hub could be an additional catalyst for shares as
“investors will then be able to benchmark a base for growth of
this venture going forward.”

Some investors are already bullish about the joint venture
and expect it to give Hasbro a big boost in 2011.
[ID:nN07171988]

The strong results came a week after rival Mattel forecast
a strong 2010 from new toy lines and renewed demand for its
Barbie dolls, but failed to excite investors worried that
higher costs could limit its gross margin growth.
[ID:nN29109663]

Hasbro, on the other hand, gave investors another reason to
cheer by saying it did not expect rising input costs to have a
material impact on margins in 2010.

Hasbro’s fourth-quarter net profit rose to $165.6 million,
or $1.09 a share, from $93.6 million, or 62 cents a share, a
year earlier.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 81 cents a
share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

For a graphic on Hasbro’s results, click:

http://link.reuters.com/pab48h

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Net revenue rose 12 percent to $1.38 billion, beating
analysts’ average forecast of $1.34 billion. Revenue from the
boys’ segment rose 16 percent in the quarter.

“Overall, the fourth quarter was very good and was much
better than we envisioned even factoring in what were clearly
market share gains in action figures and games/puzzles,” Conder
said.

Standard & Poor’s analyst Erik Kolb backed his “buy” rating
and raised his target on the stock to $38 from $34, saying he
expected the boys segment to likely remain the strongest in
2010.

Looking ahead, Hasbro has a huge entertainment lineup, with
“Stretch Armstrong,” “Battleship,” “The First Avenger: Captain
America” and “Spider-Man 4” movies all slated for release in
2012.

Last December, Hasbro also signed a 10-year deal to make
and sell toys and games based on characters in the American
children’s television series “Sesame Street.”

Stock Today

(Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn,
Maureen Bavdek, Editing by Tim Dobbyn and Richard Chang)

UPDATE 5-Hasbro optimistic about 2010; shares soar