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Journalism - The Guardian

Saturday November 16, 2002

Harry Potter helps power Hornby's rise in profits

Hornby has continued its runaway success with interim pre-tax profits doubling to 1.7m on turnover up a third at 14m. The railway train maker and owner of Scalextric toy car racing has benefited from moving its production to China. The company said improved detailing has been delivered at a lower cost. Shareholders saw their dividend tripled to 6p.

New products in the past year, including a Harry Potter Hogwarts Express train, the "Black 5" locomotive - Britain's last working steam engine - and a redesigned Scalextric track, have increased sales in both the child and adult markets.

Chief executive Frank Martin promised more new products in 2003 and told investors the company's longer term prospects were "excellent".

However, chairman Neil Johnson warned that the company remains susceptible to consumer demand especially in the run-up to the Christmas rush.

Hornby has released a new Harry Potter train model to tie in with the recent film release but recent large share sales by the company's two main investors have left some wondering whether the company has reached its peak.

The shares closed up 16p yesterday at 482.5p.

Link to this story on Guardian

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