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Montreal-based toy maker Mega Brands Inc. has just ended a good quarter, with a little help from Thomas the Tank engine and his friends.

Mega Brands says its net sales were up 13 per cent to $49.1-million from $43.5-million, with improvements in both North America and internationally.

It benefited from the spring launch of Thomas & Friends toys for preschoolers, in addition to strong demand for the company's core Mega Bloks building toys, Mega Brands also saw its first quarter profit soar to $98.2-million (U.S.) or $2.28 per share, from a year-earlier loss of $25.9-million or 71 cents per share.

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The profit was due to a $140.3-million non-cash gain from a settlement of debt. Mega Brands continued to show a loss from operations, which increased to $21.7-million in the first quarter from $14.3-million a year earlier.

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