Lego moves to China

Danish toy maker Lego Group, famous for its colorful plastic building blocks, said Wednesday it is considering moving all or parts of its production to Eastern Europe or China.

The struggling company reported a pretax loss of 156 million kroner (Ђ21 million; US$26 million) last week and announced it would move a production factory in Switzerland to the Czech Republic, the AP reports.

In an interview with the financial newspaper Boersen, Lego chief executive Joergen Vig Knudstorp said the Swiss move was a test, and could be followed by a complete or partial move of the company's main production facilities in Billund, Denmark.

"In the long term, I think that everything will be moved," Vig Knudstorp was quoted as saying.

Lego spokeswoman Charlotte Simonsen told The Associated Press no decision had been made, but confirmed that outsourcing production to eastern Europe or China was on the table. She said the restructuring plans would be completed by 2010, and any moves would take place before that.

There are about 3,000 people working at the production facility at the Lego headquarters in Billund.

Earlier this year Lego sold its four Legoland amusement parks to U.S.-based private equity group the Blackstone Group for Ђ375 million (US$457 million). The theme parks are located in Carlsbad, California; Billund; Windsor, Britain; and Gunzberg, Germany.

Founded in 1932, Lego's name was invented by combining the first two letters of the Danish words "Leg godt" (play well) without knowing that that the word in Latin means "I assemble."

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