Walt Disney Co. reported strong fourth-quarter earnings late Thursday boosted by increased attendance at its domestic theme parks as well as strong sales in its consumer products division.
Disney reported net income of $877 million (44 cents per share), a 12 percent improvement on $782 million (36 cents) from the same period a year earlier, beating Wall Street's expectations of 41 cents per share.
Revenues for the Burbank-based entertainment giant also grew 3.2 percent to $8.93 billion, just short of analysts' predictions of $8.98 billion.
Attendance at Disney's domestic theme parks grew 5 percent for the quarter, mostly at the Walt Disney World complex in Orlando, Fla. Guest spending also inched up 2 percent. Strong sales of branded products, especially toys from Pixar's movie "Cars," helped boost sales at Disney's consumer products division by 10 percent.
The only down spot in the quarter was Disney's film studio, which saw a 21 percent dip in profit and a 24 percent slip in revenue year-over-year. But the company said that drop was mainly due to an unfair comparison with last year's fourth quarter, which was helped by the wild success of the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest."
Disney, owner of the ABC network, also said that it currently has contingency plans in place in the event of a prolonged strike by the Writers Guild of America. Disney owns the ABC network. The plans include cutting costs, increasing movie production, holiday programming and reality shows, said Chief Executive Robert Iger in a conference call.
Shares in Disney were off 2.4 percent in early trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.
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