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Mattel Profits Nearly Double in 4Q

February 1, 2002

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Mattel Inc., the world’s largest toy manufacturer, said fourth quarter profits nearly doubled, despite a slim 2 percent rise in sales during the fourth quarter. The results short of Wall Street’s expectations.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, net income was $138 million, or 31 cents a share, compared with $71.1 million, or 17 cents a share, a year earlier.

Income results include a write down of $22.1 million in bad debt as a result of Kmart Corp.’s bankruptcy filing, the company said.

Before one-time charges, profit rose 21 percent to $146 million, or 33 cents a share, up from $120.6 million, or 28 cents a share, from a year earlier, Mattel said.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call had forecast earnings of 34 cents a share.

Revenue rose to $1.61 billion, from $1.58 billion. Analysts had projected revenues of $1.66 billion, according to Thomson Financial/First Call.

The maker of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels said growth was hampered by U.S. retailers who canceled holiday orders over concerns of weak consumer demand. But Robert Eckert, chairman and chief executive, said sales abroad recorded double digit growth.

In the next three to five years, worldwide sales will grow in the ``mid-single-digit range″ and earnings per share will increase in the ``low double-digits,″ he said.

For the full year, the El Segundo-based company reported net income of $298.9 million, compared with a loss of $431 million in 2000. Revenue increased to $4.8 billion, up from $4.7 billion in 2000, the company said.

Shares rose 35 cents to close at $19 in trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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