This article was corrected on November 23, 1992. Disney reported record revenues for fiscal 1992 (Daily Variety, Nov. 20); its record net income, $ 824 million, was recorded in 1990.
Fueled by strong sales in all divisions, Walt Disney Co. reported record earnings of $ 816.7 million ($ 1.52 per share) for the year ended Sept. 30, up 28% from the year before.
And that’s good news at the company’s Burbank headquarters in the wake of big losses in Europe, where the Disney name is no guarantee of success.
More Disney news, pages 38, 39
While Euro Disney reported a $ 35 million loss yesterday, Walt Disney Co.’s fiscal 1992 revenues climbedto a record $ 7.5 billion, 23% higher than last year.
“Earnings were on target, but excellent,” said Jessica Reif, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. in New York. “Consumers are clearly spending at Disney.”
Disney shares closed up 63 cents to $ 40.88 yesterday with 1.5 million shares trading.
The Filmed Entertainment division also reported record revenues for the 1992 fiscal year, up 20% to $ 3.1 billion, “the most any studio in history has made,” Reif noted.
In a release, Disney said its box office was boosted specifically by “Sister Act,””The Hand That Rocks the Cradle” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
Reif also predicted that the company’s earnings record will be broken again in fiscal 1993.
Reif expects the company’s profit margins to increase for several reasons: Disney will no longer be relying on Warner Bros. for film distribution internationally, it has begun to directly market its homevideo products, and it has a “strong combination” of films coming to theaters for the year, including Eddie Murphy in “Distinguished Gentleman,” the strong box office overspill of “Aladdin” and the rerelease of animated classic “Snow White.”
Record fourth quarter
Disney also reported a record fiscal 1992 fourth quarter, with revenues up 21 % to $ 2.1 billion and earnings up 29% to $ 223.7 million (42 cents) from $ 174 million (33 cents) for the prior year period.
In a joint statement, top brass Michael D. Eisner and Frank G. Wells attributed the company’s record results to strength in all three of its business segments and the continued success of the company’s animated products.
Disney’s theme parks and resorts segment reported a 26% increase in revenues for the quarter to $ 996.2 million and 18% for the year to $ 3.3 billion.
The results reflect the fact that though extremely profitable, theme parks are becoming an increasingly smaller percentage of total revenues, at less than 50% compared to even 65% a few years ago.
Operating income for the segment in fiscal 1992 grew 18% to $ 644 million.
The company cited increasing attendance at both theme parks as well as record room occupancy at its East Coast resort hotels as factors for the double-digit growth rates.
Revenues for the Filmed Entertainment segment grew 6% for the quarter to $ 784.6 million and operating income by 21% to $ 121.6 million.
Year-end operating income for the area was up 60% to $ 508.2 million, an increase the company attributed to the strength of its animated films, including “Beauty and the Beast,” in worldwide theatrical release, “Fantasia,” in worldwide homevideo, and “101 Dalmatians” in domestic homevideo.
Baby boom biz
Baby Boomer parents are pushing money into Disney consumer products at record levels. The segment’s revenues soared 54% to $ 294.3 million for the quarter, and operating income rose 18% to $ 60.4 million.
The company reported year-end revenues were up 49% to $ 1.1 billion and operating income up 23% to $ 283 million.
Disney noted that the increases were primarily driven by the success of film character merchandise, particularly “The Little Mermaid,””101 Dalmatians” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
Disney also noted the continued strength of its European businesses, particularly in publishing and licensing.
However, in the wake of losses at Euro Disney, the company said it would be deferring its $ 21 million management fee for the park until at least fiscal 1994.
Disney reported yesterday that Euro Disney generated income for the company of $ 11 million for the full year, mostly in royalties.
The company further noted that the year-end results also reflected the further expansion and success of the Disney Stores in the United States, which Oppenheimer’s Reif noted are performing significantly stronger than other stores in the retail industry.
“The stores’ profits continue to increase dramatically,” she said.