Disney Beats on Q1 as Theme Parks and Films Deliver Big

Michael Teague  |

For the first quarter of 2013, Walt Disney Co. (DIS) reported net income of $1.51 billion, or $0.83 per share on revenue of $10.55 billion, compared to the prior-year period during which the company made $0.63 per share on revenue of $1.14 billion.

While total revenue was down from Q1 of 2012, the company’s earnings, adjusted to $0.79, beat expectations of $0.77 per share, while revenue came in ahead of expectations of $10.49 billion.

A number of factors played contributed to the company’s encouraging performance during Q1.

The company’s considerable investments in its theme parks in Hong Kong, Anaheim, and Orlando last year could be seen in the 73 percent increase in operating income for its parks and resorts division, up to $383 million. A new Cars attraction in the California location, the upgrades to Florida’s Fantasyland attraction and the company’s record investment in the new Fantasy cruise ship all were factors.

Disney’s movie studio, which was hit hard during the prior-year quarter by the sci-fi film “John Carter,” adapted from the character from the Edgar Rice Burroughs novels, rebounded last quarter with the release of the successful “Oz the Great and Powerful.” The upcoming release of “Iron Man 3” also gives the company, its investors as well as its customers another exciting blockbuster to look forward to as the current quarter is well underway.

The company also did very well with regard to Disney and Marvel-related merchandise, with operating income for the consumer products unit up 35 percent to $200 million.

Positive performances in key divisions were not the sole reason for the encouraging numbers however, as Disney’s earnings benefited from ESPN’s delay of $120 million in subscriber payments compared to the prior year’s $190 million, as well as a calendar irregularity that saw both New Years and Easter holidays included in the quarter’s numbers.

In late trading, shares were down 1.32 percent to $65.20, after closing the day on a 1.55 percent gain at $66.07.

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