Lego A/S, the Billund, Denmark-based toymaker famous for its colorful building bricks, has minted three new billionaires as the company’s revenue soared 25 percent last year.
The children of Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, Denmark’s richest man -- Sofie Kirk Kiaer Kristiansen, Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, and Agnete Kirk Thinggaard -- hold a combined 37 percent economic interest in the company valued at more than $5.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. None have appeared individually on an international wealth ranking.
The closely held company’s sales climbed to 23.4 billion Danish kroner ($4.04 billion) in 2012, according to the company’s annual report, helping the 81-year-old operation pass Mattel Inc. to become the world’s most-valuable toy manufacturer.
“Lego is on fire,” Gerrick Johnson, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets in New York, said in an e-mail. “It’s the world’s biggest toymaker in terms of net income, operating income and Ebitda. It had a 71 percent gross margin in its latest results and is posting strong sales growth.”
Lego is valued at $14.6 billion, based on the average enterprise value-to-earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, enterprise value-to-sales and price-to- earnings multiples of competitors Mattel and Hasbro Inc., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Enterprise value is defined as market capitalization plus total debt minus cash.
El Segundo, California-based Mattel, which makes Barbie dolls, has a market capitalization of $14.4 billion, after hitting a 52-week high yesterday. Pawtucket, Rhode Island-based Hasbro, which sells the Monopoly board game, has a $5.4 billion market capitalization.
Johnson values Lego, which manufactured 45.7 billion bricks last year, at about $15 billion.
“Using the same multiples investors have given to Mattel, Lego would be worth $17 billion,” he said. “I use a discount owing to the fact that Lego isn’t as diversified and doesn’t have much to fall back on should the construction toy market cool. This multiple though would still put Lego’s valuation slightly ahead of Mattel.”
Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, the grandson of Lego founder Ole Kirk Christiansen, has a net worth of $5.9 billion, according to the Bloomberg ranking. The family controls 75 percent of the operation through Kirkbi A/S, a Billund-based investment company, Lego said in its report.