Battle-games creater makes a killing

The largest and the most successful battle-games company in the world, Games Workshop proudly proclaims that its business is no less than ‘helping mighty armies to meet headlong on the field of battle’.

From its HQ in Nottingham, it designs, manufactures and sells plastic and metal soldiers and publishes intensely-detailed rulebooks for imaginary campaigns. UK manufacturing operations in Nottingham and Wisbech are complemented by a US production facility in Baltimore.

The company holds a global licence for a tabletop battle-game based on director Peter Jackson’s BAFTA and Academy award-winning film trilogy, The Lord of the Rings.

Founded in London by three games fanatics 25 years ago, Games Workshop was floated on the London Sock Exchange. The company relocated three years later in October 1997 to a new HQ in Lenton, Nottingham, featuring its own own exhibition hall and museum.

The company announces its results for the year to June 30, 2002 on Tuesday July 30. Pre-tax profits for the half-year were £6m, up 48% on turnover of £51.6m.

Investors will be looking for evidence of the sales impact from the first of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which premiered in December 2001.

A publicly quoted company with around 70% of sales coming from outside the UK, Games Workshop remains a vertically integrated company, retaining control of design, manufacture, distribution and retail. Products are sold through its own chain of 250 stores around the globe, complemented by mail order and online sales businesses.

Its customers are the legions of players aged 12 upwards who collect, paint and build up the armies which they will go on to command on carefully prepared tabletop battlefields.

The retail operation is supported by Games Workshop’s monthly magazine, White Dwarf, which is distributed by major newsagents across the world. White Dwarf is currently published in five languages, and special editions are also produced for the US and Australian market.

With its own armies of fanatically-devoted followers and an eye for a commercial opportunity, Games Workshop continues to be a force to contend with in the competitive world of miniature warfare.

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