It is a brand name familiar to children around the world, but a decade ago Lego was in crisis. Sales were collapsing at a rate of 26% a year, it lost 1.4bn Danish kroner (pounds 150m) in 2003 and private equity firms were circling the 82-year-old family-owned Danish company.
Now, after a series of job cuts and the ending of the family's management of the company, the plastic brick business has rebuilt itself into the world's most profitable toy maker ahead of Barbie's
The company, which has been headquartered in the small Danish town of Billund (population 6,155) since 1932, yesterday reported "another record breaking year" of sales and profits growth - for the ninth consecutive year. Its high profitability comes from its ability to turn each kilogram of raw material plastic - which costs less than
Annual profits increased by almost 10% to
"That is an incredible quadrupling of our revenues in less than 10 years,"
Knudstorp is credited with driving Lego's resurgence since he took over as CEO from
He said Lego's success was due to constant innovation and the creation of 60-70 new products every year, including
Westgarth said Lego was also benefiting considerably from parents' nostalgia for their own childhood - parents including
The company, which sold its Legoland theme parks to Madame Tussauds owner
More than 99% of Lego videos on Youtube - featuring Lego recreations of everything from the
Lego, which is derived from the Danish "leg godt" meaning "play well", is also benefiting from "a considerable amount of excitement" prompted by the Lego Movie. The film, which features the hit Tegan and Sara song Everything is Awesome, is taking pounds 2m a day in
Next up is Knudstorp's "pretty simple ambition" to "take the bricks all over the world". Lego is sold in more than 130 countries round the world, but Knudstorp admits that "we're not really there" in many of the world's less well off nations.
"We see a huge opportunity to bring Lego further out into the world in the next 20 years," he said.
In 2013 the company's sales were 25.3bn
Pre-tax profits for the same year were DKr8.2bn (pounds 900m), up from DKr5.6bn in 2012
The number of Lego bricks produced in 2013, taking the total in the history of the company to 700bn
The Lego Movie made pounds 19.72m at the box office in the first 10 days after it opened
Lego employs 11,755 people
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