Licensing stars for Marvel

Stronger than anticipated contribution from segment helps firm to net sales of $197.0m in Q1 09.
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Marvel Entertainment has revealed its results for the first quarter ending March 21st 2009 - showing a stronger than anticipated contribution from its licensing division.

Marvel reported net sales of $197.0 million and net income of $44.5 million for the period. This is compared to net sales of $112.6 million and net income of $45.2 million in Q1 2008.

The year-over-year increase in net sales is mainly the result of $90.4 million in film production segment revenues associated with The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man.

However, licensing segment net sales for the period stood at $80.8 million, higher than anticipated and primarily reflecting strength in interactive games and royalties from better than expected worldwide licensee sales.

As anticipated though, licensing segment net sales declined versus Q1 2008 reflecting a $24.5 million decrease in sales from the Spider-Man feature film merchandising joint venture with Sony, as well as lower Marvel Studios entertainment licensing revenue than in the previous year's period.

These declines were substantially offset by higher contributions from domestic and international consumer products, which in aggregate rose by $30.3 million compared to the prior year period. Licensing segment operating income was $58.9 million in Q1 2009.

"Strong Q1 results in our licensing and film production segments reflect the power of our corporate and character brands and solid demand for Marvel-branded consumer products and the home video versions of our Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk feature films," said Marvel's chairman, Morton Handel.

Marvel has also revised its 2009 financial guidance to reflect the stronger than anticipated Q1 2009 operating performance and a decline in its anticipated full year tax rate. The firm raised the low end and high end of its net sales guidance and the low end of its net income and diluted EPS guidance ranges to $450-485 million, $86 million and $1.10 respectively.

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