Danish toy icon Lego builds record profit through Covid pandemic

The world's largest toymaker, Denmark's Lego, on Tuesday reported record sales and profits in 2021 as demand for its signature plastic bricks soared during the pandemic.

A file photo of Lego blocks
A file photo of Lego blocks. The Danish toy company posted record profits after demand surged during the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The group registered a 34-percent increase in net profit to 13.3 billion kroner (1.78 billion euros), its biggest to date.

Sales meanwhile jumped by 27 percent to 55.3 billion kroner, boosted by the success of its franchise deals in recent years, including Star Wars and Harry Potter, as well as its strong expansion in China.

Online shopping helped sales grow worldwide despite the pandemic. Lego also opened 165 new stores in 2021, including 90 in China, where it plans to expand further.

For 2022, the group said it expected its growth to “normalise”, and be in the single digits.

Its strong performance in recent years has helped Lego become the world’s biggest toymaker, according to analysts.

The Danish group now has 832 stores and five factories worldwide.

Last year, it announced the opening of an additional site in Vietnam, near Ho Chi Minh City.

The site, designed to support long-term growth in the Asia-Pacific region, is to be Lego’s first carbon-neutral factory as the group aims to reduce its emissions.

Lego, a contraction of the Danish for “play well” (leg godt), was founded in 1932 by Kirk Kristiansen, whose family still controls the group which employs about 20,400 people in 40 countries.

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Scandinavian airline SAS passenger numbers ‘highest since pandemic’

The number of passengers who flew with Scandinavian airline SAS in April was far higher than during the same month in 2021.

Scandinavian airline SAS passenger numbers 'highest since pandemic'

Over 1.5 million flew with SAS last month, around four times as many as in April 2020 when Covid-19 restrictions were still in broad effect.

SAS still has some way to go to return to the number of passengers it registered before spring 2020, the “pre-pandemic” period for the hard-hit industry.

The airline was affected by a pilots’ strike in April 2019 which affected results for that month, but 2.5 million people flew with SAS in April 2018, demonstrating how the airline is still lagging behind earlier years despite the apparent recovery.

“We continue the ramp-up and see the highest number of passengers since March 2020,” president and CEO of SAS Anko van der Werff said in a press statement.

“Looking forward, sales and booking trends are positive for the summer period ahead,” he added.

SAS’ capacity in April was around two-thirds of its capacity in 2018.

“SAS is a bit more restrained in increasing its capacity than many of its competitors,” aviation sector analyst Jacob Pedersen of Sydbank told news wire Ritzau.

The company faces a challenge to make as much profit from its services as it did before the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Pedersen.

“The snapshot image of the trend in April is certainly encouraging but a closer analysis gives less cause for encouragement,” he said.