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UPDATE 1-Angry Birds creator Rovio's profit misses forecast

(Adds forecast, share price, detail)

HELSINKI, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Rovio Entertainment, the maker of the “Angry Birds” games franchise, reported a smaller-than-expected profit in the fourth quarter from a year-ago loss and said on Friday it would raise its full-year dividend by a third to 0.12 euros per share.

The Finnish company’s operating profit stood at 2.9 million euros ($3.5 million) for the October-December quarter, up from a loss of 0.1 million euros a year earlier but lagging an average forecast of 11 million in a Refinitiv poll of analysts.

While revenues decreased because of less money made from brand licensing as well as currency exchange impacts, margins rose as less cash was spent recruiting new players, the company said.

The fourth-quarter profit was also smaller than the 12.8 million euros earned in the third quarter of 2020.

Rovio’s share price fell 11% by 0822 GMT, compared with a 0.3% drop in Helsinki’s benchmark stock exchange.

Depending on market conditions and the launch of new games, Rovio plans to spend more money this year to recruit players, which may in turn have a negative impact on short-term profitability, it said.

$1 = 0.8262 euros Reporting by Essi Lehto; Editing by Terje Solsvik and Edmund Blair

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