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Marvel’s First-Quarter Sales Soar

May 15, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Marvel Enterprises Inc. said Wednesday it swung to a first-quarter profit on a big jump in sales from toys, comic books and paperbacks.

The New York-based entertainment company also said it expects the recently launched Spider-Man movie to boost earnings over the next two years.

Marvel reported net income of $760,000 and a per-share loss of 10 cents a share, after the payment of preferred dividends.

In the year-earlier period, Marvel posted a net loss of $8.7 million and a loss per share of 37 cents a share, after payment of preferred dividends.

Results for the latest period benefited from the new accounting rule that eliminates quarterly reporting of amortization of goodwill as an expense.

Marvel recorded just $85,000 in amortization of goodwill and other intangibles in the latest quarter, compared with $5.9 million a year earlier.

Ebitda, or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, rose 67 percent to $10.3 million from $6.15 million.

Sales rose 34 percent to $57.2 million from $42.7 million. Toy sales climbed 24 percent to $33.5 million and publishing sales soared 43 percent to $14.6 million.

Licensing sales, which don’t include any revenue from ``Spider-Man: The Movie″ jumped 70 percent to $9.2 million.

Under an agreement with Sony Corp., Marvel didn’t recognize revenue from the Spider-Man motion picture before its release.

As of Tuesday, Marvel had about $6 million in deferred revenue from the movie, which was opened in theaters the first weekend in May. Marvel plans to record these deferred sales in the second quarter and subsequent periods.

Sony’s Columbia Pictures is the company behind Spider-Man.

In total, Marvel expects the Spider-Man film to generate Ebitda of $70 million to $100 million, with $60 million to $90 million of that coming in over the next two years.

``Based on the early commercial success of the movie and strong sales across many product categories, we are optimistic that our strategy to unleash our vast intellectual properties will generate improving cash flows, which will add value for our shareholders in 2002 and beyond,″ Marvel President and Chief Executive Peter Cuneo said in a statement.

For the second quarter, Marvel expects to report earnings of $5 million to $7 million, and ebitda of $16 million to $20 million on revenue of $55 million to $60 million. For the year, Marvel expects earnings of $18 million to $20 million, and ebitda of $60 million to $65 million on revenue of $190 million to $200 million.

Marvel’s outlook is based on a projection that ``Spider-Man: The Movie″ will generate $800 million in 2002 at the box office and from DVD and home-video products planned for release in October.

The outlook doesn’t take into account any impairment charges related to the new accounting rules for amortization of goodwill or other charges that may be taken in the second quarter.

For 2003, Marvel expects ebitda to exceed 2002 results, but the company didn’t provide specific numbers.

Shares of Marvel were at $6.92 in morning trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange, off 8 cents, or 1.1 percent.

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