CHILDREN'S favourite Walt Disney will be hoping its latest cinematic venture, a sequel to the hit animation The Jungle Book, will help its business get back on track.

The US entertainments firm watched profits fall 42 per cent in the first quarter despite a strong performance at the ABC Television subsidiary and improved attendance at Disney theme parks.

The company, famous for its cartoon characters including Mickey Mouse, reported net income in the first quarter to December 31 at $256m (£154.7m) compared with net income of $438m (£264.7m) in the same quarter last year.

Disney has said it expects earnings per share growth of between 25 per cent and 35 per cent this year as it profits from investments made in the past few years.

Michael Eisner, chairman and chief executive officer, said: "Our most recent quarter's results, especially the strength of the Disney parks in the face of continued economic softness, are further evidence of the soundness of our strategic plan.