Source Pravda.Ru

Athletic apparel maker Puma says 4th-quarter profits drop 26 percent

Puma AG, the maker of athletic wear and a key supplier to many African soccer teams, said Monday its fourth-quarter profit fell 26 percent from a year earlier as it continues a restructuring program.

The maker of shoes, shirts and other athletic products earned EUR32.8 million (US$43 million) in the final three months of 2006, down from EUR44.1 million on the quarter in 2005. Analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires had expected a profit of Ђ34 million (US$44.6 million).

Sales rose 38 percent to EUR480 million (US$629.7 million) compared with EUR349.2 million a year ago, still less than the Ђ492 million (US$645.4 million) analysts had predicted, reports AP.

For the year, the company earned EUR263.2 million (US$345.3 million), down from EUR285.8 million in 2005, while sales rose 33 percent to Ђ2.37 billion (US$3.11 billion) from EUR1.78 billion in 2005.

Shares of Herzogenaurach-based Puma were up nearly 2 percent to EUR295.69 (US$387.92) in Frankfurt trading.

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