Lego sees record revenue as demand grows globally

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Danish toy maker Lego says its famous colored building blocks were in high demand in most regions last year, helping its full year revenue grow 6 percent to 37.9 billion kroner ($5.4 billion), the highest figure in the company's 85-year history.

The privately-held group's net profit rose to 9.4 billion kroner ($1.3 billion) from 9.2 billion kroner in 2015.

CEO Bali Padda said Thursday that he was "satisfied" with Lego's performance, adding that sales growth in the last six months of 2016 "was at more sustainable levels than previous years."

The toy maker was "encouraged" by sales in Europe, saw "strong potential" in China but sales were flat in U.S. markets.

"We will continue to work closely with our retail partners to identify new opportunities to innovate, drive growth and engage children in this important market," said Padda.

A British citizen, Padda took over on Jan. 1 from Joergen Vig Knudstorp, Lego's chief executive for the previous 12 years. The Dane, who in 2004 became the first non-family member to head the group, is credited with making the company profitable again. Upon stepping down as CEO, he became the head of a new Lego entity.

"Innovation is critical to our success and each year around 60 percent of our portfolio is new products," Padda said. The group said that, on the whole, about 75 billion Lego pieces were sold in 2016 in more than 140 countries.

The group, based in western Denmark, has more than 19,000 employees around the world. It does not release quarterly figures.

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