Lego becomes world's second-biggest toy maker

Lego figures
Image caption Lego has been on the march in Asia

Denmark's Lego has become the world's second-biggest toy maker after reporting a 13% increase in sales.

It generated sales of $1.8bn (£1.2bn) for the six months to 30 June, up from the same period last year, overtaking US-based Hasbro.

The firm said first-half profits hit $550m and its market share rose to 8.8%.

The firm is controlled by Denmark's richest man, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, who is the grandson of Lego's founder.

US firm Mattel is the world's biggest toy manufacturer.

Lego's sales have been boosted by its new Legends of Chima range, which features animal tribe building blocks.

Lego chief executive Jorgen Vig Knudstorp said: "It is a very satisfactory result in view of general developments in the world toy market, which has had a slow start to the year in the largest and most mature markets of North America, Europe and Japan."

Slow sales in Europe and the US were offset by a boom in Asia, where sales soared by 35% in the first half of the year.

"Asia has not been a major focus for us as a company up until this point, but we see now with the emerging middle class, more and more consumers that are really interested in our products," said Lego chief financial officer John Goodwin.

In March, the company announced plans to build its first factory in China. Construction is due to begin next year.

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