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Hasbro Gets Boost From Board Games

Play-Doh also lifts it to a solid quarter.

A thriving game market proved lucrative for

Hasbro

(HAS) - Get Report

in the first quarter.

Shares of the toymaker were climbing in premarket trading after the company said it swung to a first-quarter profit and beat analyst estimates. Hasbro cited strength in its games business, helped by sales of its Trivial Pursuit 20th Anniversary Edition.

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The company earned $1.2 million, or a penny a share, in the latest quarter, compared with a loss of $17.1 million, or 10 cents a share, before an accounting change, in the year-ago quarter. Analysts were expecting the company to lose 6 cents a share.

Revenue was $461.8 million, compared with $452.3 million in the previous year's quarter. U.S. toy business revenue was $153.4 million, compared with $200.9 million in 2002; the decline was due to the impact of Star Wars last year, which was partially offset by strength in sales of Transformers and Play-Doh, the company said. Games-segment revenue grew 21%, however, to $112.2 million, from $98.2 million in the year-ago quarter.

The company said earnings before interest and taxes were $46.7 million, compared with 2002's EBITDA of $32.1 million.

"We remain focused on our strategy of growing core brands, developing new, innovative products, cutting costs and reducing debt," said Alfred J. Verrecchia, president of Pawtucket, R.I.-based Hasbro. "With nine months to go, our very successful first quarter performance has not led us to change our expectations for the full year; rather they have made us more confident in our ability to deliver them."

Analysts expect the company to earn 91 cents a share in 2003. The company earned 62 cents a share for full-year 2002.

Shares were recently up 9.2% to $15.50, according to Instinet.