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Puma upbeat for 2018, sees turnaround for soccer sales

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02/12/2018 | 12:25pm CET
FILE PHOTO:Gulden, CEO of PUMA, attends the red carpet before the Fenty PUMA by Rihanna Fall/Winter 2016 collection show during New York Fashion Week in New York

HERZOGENAURACH, Germany (Reuters) - German sportswear brand Puma (>> Puma AG Rudolf Dassler Sport) said on Monday it expects to increase its operating profit by another third in 2018 and lift sales by 10 percent, predicting a recovery in soccer sales even after top team Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup.

HERZOGENAURACH, Germany (Reuters) - German sportswear brand Puma (>> Puma AG Rudolf Dassler Sport) said on Monday it expects to increase its operating profit by another third in 2018 and lift sales by 10 percent, predicting a recovery in soccer sales even after top team Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup.

Puma, which still far lags German rival Adidas (>> adidas) and market leader Nike (>> Nike), has revived its fortunes in recent years by spending heavily on sponsoring top soccer teams and partnering with celebrities like singer Rihanna.

Puma saw its shares tumble last month after French parent Kering (>> Kering) said it would spin off the brand to its shareholders. Chief Executive Bjorn Gulden said on Monday he still expects Kering and France's Pinault family, which controls Kering, to remain long-term shareholders.

Despite the fact Italy, whose kit Puma provides, will not play at the World Cup, Gulden said he was confident that Puma's soccer sales would recover in 2018 due to popular new shoes worn by top players, adding it hopes to sign another one or two World Cup teams.

"We think 2018 will be a turnaround year for our soccer business," Gulden told a news conference.

Puma's social media campaigns for 2018 will put a big focus on Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton and actress Selena Gomez, Gulden said, adding he is optimistic for collaborations to mark the 50th anniversary of its classic Suede sneaker, including with Japan's popular Hello Kitty character.

Puma, which already sponsors top teams such as Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund, announced a deal on Monday with Italy's AC Milan, currently seventh in the Serie A league. The club had long partnered with Adidas.

Puma last week agreed a partnership with Senegal's soccer federation, bringing to three the number of World Cup teams it is sponsoring, along with Switzerland and Uruguay, well behind Adidas and Nike, which dominate the market for soccer gear.

Puma reported quarterly earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) more than doubled to 30 million euros (27.28 million pounds) on sales that rose by a currency-adjusted 14.5 percent to 1.04 billion euros, broadly in line with average analyst forecasts.

Puma's shares were up 0.5 percent at 1053 GMT, underperforming a 1.8 percent firmer German small-cap index <.SDAXI>.

Puma said it expects a 10 percent rise in sales in constant currencies and 2018 EBIT of between 305 million and 325 million, up from 245 million in 2017.

Gulden said the spin-off from Kering would not affect Puma's strategy but will give more details on March 20 at a capital markets day in London.

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Maria Sheahan, Dale Hudson and Georgina Prodhan)

By Emma Thomasson

Stocks treated in this article : Kering, Nike, Puma AG Rudolf Dassler Sport, adidas
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Financials (€)
Sales 2017 21 347 M
EBIT 2017 1 988 M
Net income 2017 1 262 M
Debt 2017 91,2 M
Yield 2017 1,36%
P/E ratio 2017 28,48
P/E ratio 2018 22,72
EV / Sales 2017 1,77x
EV / Sales 2018 1,61x
Capitalization 37 711 M
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Technical analysis trends ADIDAS
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Income Statement Evolution
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Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 40
Average target price 199 €
Spread / Average Target 10%
EPS Revisions
Managers
NameTitle
Kasper Bo Rørsted Chief Executive Officer
Igor Landau Chairman-Supervisory Board
Glenn Bennett Head-Global Operations
Harm Ohlmeyer Chief Financial Officer
Willi Schwerdtle Deputy Chairman-Supervisory Board
Sector and Competitors
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PUMA AG RUDOLF DASSLER SPORT-9.23%6 232
POU CHEN CORPORATION--.--%3 744
DECKERS OUTDOOR CORP19.00%3 052