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Adidas : shares jump on buyback, profit optimism

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03/14/2018 | 01:28pm CEST
A pair of the sport shoes of Adidas, printed by 3D printer, is seen before the company's annual news conference in Herzogenaurach

HERZOGENAURACH, Germany (Reuters) - Shares in German sportswear firm Adidas (>> adidas) soared on Wednesday after it announced a big buyback, gave an upbeat outlook for 2018 and lifted its 2020 profitability forecast, while conceding it would be hard to match rival Nike's margins.

HERZOGENAURACH, Germany (Reuters) - Shares in German sportswear firm Adidas soared on Wednesday after it announced a big buyback, gave an upbeat outlook for 2018 and lifted its 2020 profitability forecast, while conceding it would be hard to match rival Nike's margins.

Adidas said late on Tuesday it plans to buy back up to 3 billion euros ($3.7 billion) of its shares, or almost 9 percent of its share capital, by 2021 on top of a higher-than-expected 2017 dividend of 2.60 euros per share.

The company's online sales leaped 57 percent in 2017 to 1.5 billion euros, or about 7 percent of sales.

The company's shares, which had fallen 15 percent in the past six months as sales growth cooled, were up 10 percent at 1206 GMT, the top gainer on Germany's blue-chip index <.GDAX>.

"(20)18 will be a good year for us...ensuring we get the right balance of market share growth and margin growth...to get us closer to where some of our competitors are," Chief Executive Kasper Rorsted told a news conference.

After a tough few years, Adidas has returned to form under Rorsted, taking market share from bigger rival Nike in North America and selling its underperforming TaylorMade golf and CCM Hockey brands.

Since taking over in 2016, Rorsted has put a sharper focus on improving profitability, which still lags Nike.

Finance chief Harm Ohlmeyer, who used to lead the Adidas ecommerce business, told the news conference it would be hard to close the gap completely given Nike's dominance of the U.S. market, but he said online sales were helping margins.

Rosted said there was still huge potential to increase online sales further given that ecommerce accounts for about 15 to 20 percent of sales for the global sporting goods market.

Adidas forecast currency-neutral sales would rise around 10 percent in 2018, with an operating margin of between 10.3 and 10.5 percent, up from 9.8 percent in 2017. Nike reported an operating margin of 13.8 percent for its 2016/17 fiscal year.


Adidas expects a boost from the 2018 soccer World Cup, although Rorsted noted that the event has less impact than before as soccer now accounts for less than 10 percent of sales.

He said the company had no plans to boycott the tournament despite rising political tension between the West and Russia: "Isolation is not the best way to resolution," he said.

Adidas lifted its forecast for the operating margin to hit 11.5 percent by 2020, up from a previous forecast of 11 percent. Rorsted highlighted steps to improve efficiency, such as more global purchasing, shared business services and fewer products.

Fourth-quarter sales rose 12 percent to 5.06 billion euros, missing analyst forecasts for 5.13 billion as sales in Russia and at its Reebok brand slipped.

It reported operating profit more than tripled to 132 million euros, beating analyst forecasts for 61 million, but recorded a net loss of 41 million after a tax impact of 76 million due to changes in the U.S. tax code.

Rorsted said a turnaround plan he launched for loss-making Reebok was bearing fruit, with the brand expected to return to growth in North America in 2018.

"While the slowdown in organic growth is going to raise some questions today, confidence on the profitability progression implies a continued superior growth potential," said Morgan Stanley analysts, who rate the stock "equal-weight".

($1 = 0.8063 euros)

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Keith Weir and Adrian Croft)

By Emma Thomasson

Stocks treated in this article : Nike, adidas
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ADIDAS -1.67% 205.8 Delayed Quote.25.22%
NIKE -0.71% 79.57 Delayed Quote.28.12%
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Financials (€)
Sales 2018 22 341 M
EBIT 2018 2 361 M
Net income 2018 1 657 M
Finance 2018 589 M
Yield 2018 1,48%
P/E ratio 2018 25,43
P/E ratio 2019 21,95
EV / Sales 2018 1,93x
EV / Sales 2019 1,77x
Capitalization 43 601 M
Duration : Period :
adidas Technical Analysis Chart | MarketScreener
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Technical analysis trends ADIDAS
Short TermMid-TermLong Term
Income Statement Evolution
Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 38
Average target price 218 €
Spread / Average Target 4,4%
EPS Revisions
Kasper Bo Rørsted Chief Executive Officer
Igor Landau Chairman-Supervisory Board
Harm Ohlmeyer Chief Financial Officer
Willi Schwerdtle Deputy Chairman-Supervisory Board
Wolfgang Jäger Member-Supervisory Board
Sector and Competitors
1st jan.Capitalization (M$)
ADIDAS25.22%49 390
ADIDAS AG (ADR)--.--%49 390