Chorion has posted its first financial results since it went private three years ago, showing that its children's division is at the forefront of its success.
The company - which was taken private in May 2006 - posted group revenues of £46.1 million for the year ending December 31st 2008, up from £32.6 million in the year ending December 31st 2005 (the last year it posted figures as a listed company).
Gross profits were £28.4 million (2005: £18.9 million), with margins improving from 53 per cent to 62 per cent in the three-year period.
The children's division saw revenues increase to £26.0 million (2005: £12.6m), of which 78 per cent came from licensing and merchandising. Indeed, children's products contributed 74 per cent of group gross profit.
Star brands included Noddy, while Mr Men also showed rapid growth, following significant brand investments in 2005 and 2006. Olivia, which launches on Five's Milkshake block on February 22nd, is expected to contribute significantly going forward.
"Our objective is to become a global children's media company of scale," stated Waheed Ali, chairman of Chorion. "We will achieve our aims by acquiring, creating and developing a portfolio of popular children's brands, launching one new children's brand annually and by expanding our sales internationally, particularly in the key licensing and merchandising territories of the US, Japan, UK and France.
"In just a few years we have transformed the business from its reliance on a few core assets focused on the UK market, to a wider and growing portfolio that appeals to children all over the world. Our children's division is now showing an annual 35 per cent growth.
"Our international expansion has fuelled this growth. We have built a significant presence in the US - the largest market - not only through substantial sales to US networks, but also through the expansion of our US operation to more than 70 people.
"The investment programme we began in 2006 is beginning to show good early returns, with an increase in long-term visibility and recurring revenues."
Elsewhere, Chorion's Literary Estates division continued to perform well. Its major property, the Agatha Christie estate, contributed a significant proportion of the division's revenues.
Also in 2008, overseas revenues contributed 48 per cent of group revenues (2005: 38 per cent), of which 13 per cent came from the US and the remainder mostly from France, Japan and Portugal.