For years it was speculated that the French Kering group wanted to sell its daughter company Puma.Now bankers Rothschild & Co. were commissioned to sell the increasingly fitter cat, reports French business paper “Challenges”.
Francois-Henri Pinault, the CEO of the luxury and fashion group Kering (Gucci, Yves-Saint-Laurent, Bottega Veneta, etc.), bought Puma in 2007 for € 5.3bn. Looking at stock prices, analysts estimate the current value of the big cat at 6 billion euros. So far, Pinault had always denied all sales rumors. However, according to a report by the French business magazine “Challenges”, Rothschild & Co. Bank has now been commissioned to sell Puma in 2018.
A spokesman for the parent company refused to comment on the report and referred to the statement by chief financial officer Jean-Marc Duplaix from October: “Puma is an asset that is not part of the core business of the group; that’s in the luxury. I think Puma is on a very good way and we will have the opportunity to think about the options, but rather later and probably not in the short term. First and foremost we are working on the turnaround and we want to deliver nice numbers for 2017. That’s our priority. ”
In the third quarter, sales at Puma SE increased by 17.4% in currency-adjusted terms to EUR 1.12 billion. The operating result (EBIT) was able to grow from EUR 60.3 million to EUR 101.2 million quarter on quarter. “The third quarter was another good quarter for us, with double-digit growth in all regions and strong growth across all product segments,” says Puma CEO Bjørn Gulden. “With a gross margin in excess of our expectations and continuous focus on operating expenses, we achieved a very positive and better-than-expected operating result.”
Gulden increased the expected currency-adjusted sales growth by two percentage points to 14 to 16% for the whole of 2017, and the EBIT result by 30 million euros to 235 to 245 million euros. The gross profit margin climbed to 48.1%. Currency-adjusted sales since the beginning of the year have grown by 16% to around € 3.1 billion. Consolidated net income doubled in the first nine months from € 67 million in the previous year to € 133.6 million.
Further improvements in procurement, higher sales of new products with a higher margin and selective price adjustments would have helped to improve the gross profit margin, despite negative exchange rate effects, Puma said.
The main drivers of growth are shoes. The categories Running and Training as well as Sportstyle, according to Puma, are showing particularly strong growth. The Platform, Suede, Basket Heart, Fierce and Ignite Limitless models made a splash on the market. Not least thanks to the ongoing collaboration with celebrity Rihanna and, more recently, Selena Gomez, Puma is improving its brand perception and sales to women.
Pumas’ own retail sales, retail stores including e-commerce sales, increased by 22% in constant currency to reach 673 million euros. The share of total revenue in the first nine months of 2017 was 21.7% (20.6% in the previous year).