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Puma lifts 2018 outlook after jump in quarterly profits

German sporting goods company Puma upgraded its 2018 outlook after stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings © AFP / CHRISTOF STACHE

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Germany, Oct 25 – German sportswear group Puma raised its 2018 outlook Thursday after a stronger-than-expected third quarter, boosted by a new basketball shoe and some celebrity sparkle from model Adriana Lima and Barcelona striker Luis Suarez.

The company’s net profit rose 25 percent year-on-year between July and September, to 77.5 million euros ($88 million).

Operating, or underlying, profits soared 28 percent to 130 million euros, the leaping-cat brand said.

Sales increased 11 percent to 1.2 billion euros, lifted by double digit growth in the Americas and Asia-Pacific region.

“The third quarter ended a little stronger than we had expected with sales growing organically,” chief executive Bjorn Gulden said in a statement.

Despite “very negative” currency impacts in Turkey and Argentina, Gulden said Puma overall “experienced less headwind from currencies in sales than in previous quarters”.

The Bavarian group also benefited from new celebrity partnerships, with Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima following in the footsteps of Rihanna and Cara Delevingne to become a Puma brand ambassador.

Barcelona and Uruguay striker Luis Suarez, Belgium’s Axel Witsel and Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren meanwhile joined the stable of Puma-sponsored football stars.

Looking ahead, Puma expressed confidence for the remainder of the year despite “volatile currencies and an uncertain global trade environment”.

Its optimism partly stems from big expectations for Puma’s new basketball sneaker, the Clyde Court Disrupt, that was launched to great fanfare in September as the firm’s first hoops shoe since 1999.

The group now expects currency-adjusted sales for the whole of 2018 to increase 14-16 percent, compared with earlier guidance of 12-14 percent.

Operating profits are now forecast to come in at 325-335 million euros, up from 310-330 million previously.

Net profit is expected to “improve significantly” in 2018.