Mattel weathers biggest share fall for nearly 20 years

Published on: 18th February 2019

A disappointing 2019 forecast issued on Friday triggered an 18% drop in shares, Mattel’s worst day in nearly two decades.

The forecast comes barely a week after the company said strong holiday sales of Barbie drove a surprise Q4 profit, which sent its shares up 23% the following morning.

On Friday, the company said gross sales for 2019 would be flat on a constant-currency basis, with weakness in Thomas & Friends and American Girl offsetting comparatively stronger sales of Barbie and Hot Wheels. Even then, Barbie and Hot Wheels won’t sell as much as they did in 2018, CFO Joe Euteneuer said in an investor presentation.

For the first quarter, Mattel said it expects lower gross sales, blaming the liquidation of Toys R Us and currency fluctuations. It also expects adjusted earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $350m to $400m for 2019, below estimates of $480.18m, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Gross profit margins for 2019 are expected to come in the “low 40s” range, while analysts were expecting margins of 44.2%.

Mattel has been aiming to cut at least $650m in net costs by the end of 2019 through job cuts and other means. The company said it expects to keep reducing manufacturing costs, the benefit of which will be first seen in 2020.

The company’s shares closed at $13.82.


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