PUMA AG Rudolf Dassler Sport

EANS-News: PUMA AG Rudolf Dassler Sport
PUMA AG announces its consolidated financial results for the First Quarter of 2009

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Herzogenaurach (euro adhoc) - Herzogenaurach, Germany, May 8, 2009 - PUMA AG announces its consolidated

@@start.t2@@financial results for the First Quarter of 2009

Highlights First Quarter:
  . Consolidated sales up slightly by almost 1% currency neutral
  . Gross profit margin at 52%
  . Operational result before special items at EUR 114 million representing 16%
      of sales, a decline of 9%
  . First quarter result impacted by restructuring cost of EUR 110 million
  . EPS before restructuring at EUR 5.36 compared to EUR 5.76

Outlook 2009:
  . Market environment expected to remain difficult in 2009
  . Management takes further actions to act accordingly within  the  currently
      difficult market environment, in order to protect profitability and ensure
      profitable growth in the future

Sales and Earnings Development@@end@@

Global branded sales PUMA's worldwide branded sales, which include consolidated  and  license  sales, decreased currency neutral 3.1%. In Euro terms, sales  are  only  slightly  down 0.5% reaching EUR 737.7 million  in  a  challenging  environment  versus  EUR 741.2 million in last year's quarter. On a currency neutral basis, Footwear sales  were  down  by  0.8%  to  EUR 407.1 million and Apparel 8.1% to EUR 237.4 million. Accessories increased by 0.6% to EUR 93.2 million.

Licensed business Due to the take-over of a former licensee, the licensed business was down 41.6% on a currency neutral basis.  Based on  the  licensed  business,  the  company realized a royalty and commission income of EUR 5.0 million in the first quarter versus EUR 7.1 million in the prior year.

Consolidated sales up In the first quarter, consolidated sales were up 0.8%  on  a  currency  neutral basis and 3.6% in Euro terms to EUR 697.4 million. Americas increased by double- digit rates whereas EMEA and  Asia/Pacific  were  below  last  year.  Currency adjusted, sales in Footwear  were  slightly  down  0.8%  representing  EUR 397.1 million.  Apparel  sales  decreased  8.1%  to  EUR  222.4  million   due  to high comparables which resulted from replica sales relating to the Football Euro Cup last year. Accessories were up a strong 56.7% to EUR  77.9  million  which stems mainly from first time consolidation effects.

Gross profit above 52% In the first quarter, gross profit margin reached 52.1% compared to  53.4%  last year. The decline was mainly due to the regional mix.  Footwear  reported  50.4% versus 53.4%, Apparel 53.7% compared  to  53.4%  and  Accessories  55.6%  versus 53.7% last year.

Other operating expenses

Other operating expenses increased by 5.4%, rising from EUR  241.0   million  to EUR 254.1 million, or from 35.8% to 36.4% as a percentage of sales.

Marketing/Retail expenses remained unchanged to last year's level and totaled EUR 127.2 million whereas Marketing was below last year and Retail increased due  to full year effects. The cost ratio decreased from 19.0% to 18.2% of sales.  Other selling expenses increased 20.0% to EUR 84.5 million, or from 10.5%  to  12.1% of sales, mainly due to first time consolidations and  currency  impacts.  Expenses for product development and design were up 23.9% to EUR  14.6  million,   or  as a percentage of sales from 1.8% to 2.1% as major development costs occurred in US- Dollars with the US $ strengthening on a like-for-like basis. Other general  and administration expenses were down 10.5% and totaled 27.8  million,  representing 4.0% of sales versus 4.6%. Operating Expenses include depreciations of EUR 15.8 million,  up  19.9% compared to last year.

Operational result

Operational result before special items amounts to  EUR  114.0   million  versus EUR 125.8 million last year, a decline of  9.4%.  As a  percentage  of  sales  this relates to a margin of 16.3% versus 18.7%.

Special Items - Restructuring charge

PUMA has taken further actions to ensure long-term profitable growth in the future given the currently challenging economic environment and an unpredictable outlook. Management has implemented a cost reduction program which will reduce originally planned costs annually and lead to cost savings of up to EUR 150 million in FY2011.

With the resulting one-time expenses of EUR 110  million  (net  of   taxes  EUR 75.2 million) in the first quarter, PUMA will  optimize   its  retail  portfolio,  the global organizational structure and  the operating  processes.  The  number  of employees in PUMA's global workforce is expected to remain  at  previous  year's level while ensuring an even better alignment of  resources  with  key  business opportunities. The program was initiated as a proactive step in order to  ensure an even leaner and more efficient platform that will help PUMA  to  focus  even stronger on the numerous opportunities that arise in the  sportlifestyle  market in a challenging market environment accordingly.

After adjustment for special items, EBIT amounted to EUR 4.0 million compared to EUR 125.8 million last year.

Earnings Before restructuring costs, the company's pre tax profit (EBT)  accounts  for EUR 112.4 million versus EUR 126.8 million and net earnings to EUR 80.8  million versus EUR 90.1 million, a decline of 10.3%. This results in  earnings  per  share  of EUR 5.36 compared to EUR 5.76. The operational tax  ratio  came  in  at  28.5% versus 28.9% last year.

Taking into account the restructuring  costs,  earnings  before   taxes  declined from last year's EUR 126.8 million to  EUR  2.4   million  this  year.  Net earnings amounted to EUR 5.6 million versus EUR 90.1  and  earnings  per  share  as  well  as diluted earnings per share were at EUR 0.37 versus EUR 5.76 in last year's quarter.

Regional Development

Sales in the EMEA-region decreased currency adjusted by 3.0%   reaching  EUR 366.1 million versus EUR 391.1 million last year. Sales in  last  year's  quarter were impacted positively by major sport events. The region now  represents  52.5%  of consolidated sales. Gross profit margin increased to  55.1%  compared  to  54.7% last year.

Sales in the Americas were up currency neutral by 11.5% to EUR 178.1 million. The region now accounts for 25.5% of consolidated sales. Gross profit  margin  stood at 46.7% compared to 50.4% last year. In the US market, sales increased by  3.4% to $ 138.7 million in the first quarter.

Asia/Pacific sales decreased by 1.2% currency neutral but increased by 14.8%  in Euro terms to EUR 153.3 million. The total region accounts  for  22.0%  of sales. Gross profit margin reached 51.0% versus 53.0% last year.

Net Assets and Financial Position

Equity

As of March 31, 2009, total assets climbed by 16.4% to EUR  2,108.0   million and the equity ratio reached 56.6% after 60.4% in the previous year.

Working capital

Inventories grew 22.6% to EUR 446.7 million and accounts receivable 5.3% reaching EUR 533.1 million. Adjusted by acquisitions and currencies,  inventories  were up 16.6% and accounts receivables by 1.3%. Due to lower liabilities at the  end  of March, working capital totaled EUR 596.9 million (ex acquisition EUR 581.2 million) compared to EUR 521.1 million last year.

Capex/Cashflow

For Capex, the company spent EUR 11.6 million in the first quarter versus EUR 24.3 million in last year's quarter. In addition, an outflow of EUR 54.7 million (last year: EUR 16.6 million) related to acquisition cost.

Due to the aforementioned investments and  the  higher  working   capital,  free cashflow amounted to EUR -118.0 million compared to EUR -49.7  million  last year. Excluding investment for acquisitions, free cashflow was EUR -63.3 million versus EUR -33.0 million. The decline compared  to  last  year  is  mainly  due  to the aforementioned lower liabilities.

Cash position

Total cash end of March stood at EUR 267.6 versus EUR 357.2 million last year. Bank debts were down from EUR 67.1 million to EUR 63.2 million.  As  a  result,  the net cash position decreased from EUR 290.0 million to EUR 204.5 million year over year, mainly due to the aforementioned acquisitions and a lower free cashflow  in  the first quarter.

Share Buyback

PUMA did not purchase own shares during the first three months. At quarter-end, 950,000 shares were held as treasury stock in the balance sheet, accounting for 5.9% of total share capital. Effective April 29, 2009 all own shares were cancelled and  share  capital  was reduced accordingly. As of today, subscribed  capital  consists  of   15,082,464 shares or EUR 38.6 million.

Outlook 2009 - Market environment remains challenging

During the first quarter, sales came in better than the order books at the  end of the fourth quarter 2008 had indicated. Due  to   seasonability,  the  current shift in future orders to at-once business in the current  market  environment, as well as the own retail business which is not included in  the  order  books, quarterly orders are losing significance as an indicator of future sales. As  a result, PUMA will not release future orders as of the first quarter 2009.

After 14 years of consecutive growth, the year 2009 will be taken as a  year  of consolidation with a clear focus on adjusting the cost   basis  in  alignment  to the current business environment. First positive signs are not  expected  before 2010, the year that is highlighted by the upcoming Football World Cup  in  South Africa, where PUMA will once again be  one  of  the  most  dominant  brands. It currently outfits eleven  African  Football  Federations   including  Egypt,  the African Cup of Nations winner 2008, as well   as  the  reigning  World  Champion, Italy.

Furthermore, additional focus for 2009 is on working  capital   improvements  to strengthen the cash position and therefore the return on  capital  employed  by year-end.

With all the implemented measures, PUMA plans to protect  its   industry-leading key financial parameters.

Jochen Zeitz, CEO:  "Despite  an  ongoing  slowdown  in  the  global consumer's environment, PUMA managed to post a solid sales and earnings performance  before one time expenses in the first quarter. Due to the worldwide recession, we  plan for business to remain   challenging  in  2009  and  have  therefore  decided  to implement further measures to align our cost structure with the  current   market environment, ensuring a platform  for  profitable  growth  in the  future.  The measures  are  expected  to  accelerate  our   operational  processes,  make  the organization even more efficient and to further reduce  time-to-market  for  our products.  In   addition  to  the  opportunities  that  arise  in  the  different sportlifestyle segments, PUMA will  be  particularly  focused  on   the  Football segment, in which we plan to further grow our market share with the first  World Cup  ever  played  on  African  soil,   tapping  into  the    significant    growth opportunities offered by the market."

This  document  contains  forward-looking  information    about    the Company's financial status and strategic initiatives. Such information  is  subject  to  a certain level of risk and uncertainty that  could  cause  the  Company's  actual results  to  differ   significantly  from  the  information  discussed  in    this document. The forward-looking information is based on the  current   expectations and prognosis of the  management  team.  Therefore,   this  document  is  further subject to the risk that such expectations or prognosis, or the premise of  such underlying expectations  or  prognosis,  become  erroneous.  Circumstances  that could alter the Company's actual results and  procure  such  results to  differ significantly from those contained in forward-looking statements made by  or  on behalf of the Company include, but are not limited to those discussed be above.

###

PUMA is one of the world's leading sportlifestyle companies that designs and develops footwear, apparel and accessories.  It is committed to working in ways that contribute to the world by supporting Creativity, SAFE Sustainability and Peace, and by staying true to the values of being Fair, Honest, Positive and Creative in decisions made and actions taken. PUMA starts in Sport and ends in Fashion. Its Sport Performance and Lifestyle labels include categories such as Football, Running, Motorsports, Golf and Sailing. The Black label features collaborations with renowned designers such as Alexander McQueen, Yasuhiro Mihara and Sergio Rossi. The PUMA Group owns the brands PUMA, Tretorn and Hussein Chalayan.  The company, which was founded in 1948, distributes its products in more than 120 countries, employs more than 9,000 people worldwide and has headquarters in Herzogenaurach/Germany, Boston, London and Hong Kong. For more information, please visit www.puma.com

Rounding differences may be observed in the percentage and numerical values expressed in millions of Euro since the underlying calculations are always based on thousands of Euro.

Rounding differences may be observed in the percentage and numerical values expressed in millions of Euro since the underlying calculations are always based on thousands of Euro.

Rounding differences may be observed in the percentage and numerical values expressed in millions of Euro since the underlying calculations are always based on thousands of Euro.

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ots Originaltext: PUMA AG Rudolf Dassler Sport
Im Internet recherchierbar: http://www.presseportal.ch

Further inquiry note:
Kerstin Neuber

Telefon: +49 (0)9132 81-2984

E-Mail: Kerstin.Neuber@puma.com

Branche: Consumer Goods
ISIN:      DE0006969603
WKN:        696960
Index:    Midcap Market Index, MDAX, CDAX, Classic All Share, HDAX,
              Prime All Share
Börsen:  Börse Frankfurt / regulated dealing/prime standard
              Börse Berlin / free trade
              Börse Hamburg / free trade
              Börse Stuttgart / free trade
              Börse Düsseldorf / free trade
              Börse Hannover / free trade
              Börse München / regulated dealing



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