Puma envisions healthy future

14 Feb 2018

Puma has said it is positioned for strong future growth after breaking through the €4bn sales barrier for the first time amid impending restructuring at the German sportswear company.

Puma has reported its full year financial figures for 2017, with all regions posting double-digit growth allowing the firm to increase its sales by 14 per cent to €4.136bn. This allowed Puma’s operating result (EBIT) to improve significantly from €128m to €245m year-on-year.

The figures come after luxury goods group Kering last month announced plans to offload Puma to the company’s shareholders. Under the plan, which is set to be put to the vote on April 26, Kering will distribute 70 per cent of Puma’s shares to its existing shareholders, leaving Artemis – the holding company controlled by Kering founder Francois Pinault – with a minority stake.

Kering, which also owns fashion brand Gucci, wants to focus on luxury and catwalk brands. However, the decision came as a setback for some investors, who were hoping that Kering would have found a buyer for the stake, which would have secured a premium on their shares. As a result, Puma’s share price took an initial hit.

Kering acquired Puma for €5.3bn in 2007. While the sportswear company struggled for several years following the takeover as rivals Adidas and Nike surged ahead, it has since staged a recovery, focusing on its operations in football, running and motorsport, along with its thriving women’s business.

Puma made a notable signing yesterday as Italian Serie A football club AC Milan confirmed the company as its new kit supplier under a long-term deal. Milan said Puma will serve as its official partner, global technical supplier and official licensing partner from the 2018-19 season. It will replace fellow German brand Adidas in the role.

Commenting on Puma’s financial results, chief executive Bjørn Gulden said: “This momentum together with positive feedback from consumers and our retail partners makes us look positively into 2018. We expect to increase our sales around 10 per cent in constant currencies in 2018 and we expect to increase our EBIT to between €305m to €325m.

“We are also pleased by Kering’s proposal to reduce their ownership in Puma by a distribution of dividend in kind to its shareholders. Puma will then be a public independent company with a much higher free float (55 per cent) and with two strong anchor shareholders – Kering (16 per cent) and Artemis (29 per cent). This will allow us to continue our positive development and make Puma the fastest sports brand in the world.”