Page last updated at 09:41 GMT, Thursday, 1 May 2008 10:41 UK

Hornby to buy Corgi in 7.5m deal

Corgi toys
The Corgi brand was established in 1956

Toymaker Hornby has bought die-cast model car maker Corgi for 7.5m as part of its strategy of expanding in the hobby and collectibles market.

Corgi was created by the Mettoy Company in Northampton, which first began making pressed metal toys in the 1930s.

The Corgi name was established in 1956 and became famous for models of trucks, buses, cars and aeroplanes.

As well as Hornby model trains, Hornby also owns Scalextric slot car racing, Airfix models and Humbrol paints.

Hornby said Corgi was "a fantastic brand and has a superb reputation worldwide".

We believe that the Corgi acquisition is a sensible move at a good price,
Sanjay Vidyarthi, Dresdner Bank

Hornby said it was buying the Corgi Classics brand, tooling and intellectual property rights from Corgi International Ltd. of Hong Kong.

"Corgi's famous model vehicles captured the imagination of millions of baby boomers and are now highly sought after in the expanding collectibles market," it added.

Expansion plans

Hornby plans to build on Corgi's core market of adult male collectors in Britain and attract younger and more international customers.

It plans to do this through licensing deals, in the way it has broadened the appeal of its Hornby trains with Harry Potter and Thomas the Tank Engine licensing deals.

Its Scalextric racing cars have got a boost from a range based on the McLaren Formula 1 team and star driver Lewis Hamilton.

A forthcoming Scalextric set will be based on the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, that is due out in November.

Last year, Corgi Classics generated sales of 6.5m.

"We believe that the Corgi acquisition is a sensible move at a good price," said Sanjay Vidyarthi, an analyst at Dresdner Bank.

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