Fitness financials: Cybex reports slight uptick in Q3 sales, plus Puma

Cybex International said its net sales rose slightly in the third quarter, and French group PPR, majority shareholder of Puma, said it's looking to expand into the lifestyle and outdoor sector.
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Cybex reports slight uptick in Q3 sales

Continuing on a stabilizing trend started in the second quarter, Cybex International (Nasdaq: CYBI) said its net sales rose slightly in the third quarter.

For the quarter ended Sept. 25, net sales were $29.2 million compared to $29.0 million for the corresponding 2009 period.

It reported a net loss of $15,000, or $0.00 per diluted share, compared to net income of $81,000, or $0.00 per diluted share, in the same period last year.

“The third quarter of 2010 continued the stabilizing trend of Q2 with sales slightly higher than Q3 2009 and gross margins improving from both Q2 2010 and 2009 levels,” said John Aglialoro, Cybex’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. “The investments in marketing, sales and new products resulted in higher SG&A, but we expect these investments to result in higher future sales as we penetrate new markets.”

For the nine-month period, net sales were $83.0 million compared to $85.7 million for 2009. Its loss was $1.1 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $3.4 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, for 2009.



Puma back on acquisition track


French group PPR, majority shareholder of Puma, is looking to expand into the lifestyle and outdoor sector and has directed Puma’s CEO to hunt for acquisitions and build a new unit based around the German brand.

The directive, it said, is part of PPR's plan to move away from retail, to focus solely on luxury and lifestyle and shed its conglomerate discount in terms of valuation. It also anticipates that the new sports and lifestyle division will generate higher sales than PPR's luxury unit Gucci Group.

"The sport and lifestyle division will be, in my view, more important in size, in turnover, because we are operating in mass-market segments, but not in terms of profit," PPR CEO Francois-Henri Pinault said in a joint conference call with Puma CEO Jochen Zeitz.

PPR's luxury brands had sales of EUR 3.4 billion (USD $4.75 billion) in 2009, compared with just under EUR 2.5 billion (USD $3.4 billion) for Puma (PUMG.DE).

The parent company said it would not look to buy any brands that would directly compete with Puma's products, saying Puma will remain the main priority in terms of potential for growth.

Analysts said PPR's return to the acquisition trail is a sign that the markets are recovering. Also, as there is not much to acquire in the luxury world, there will be more acquisition opportunities in the lifestyle and outdoor sector, sources said.

Possible brands mentioned by analysts in the past include Quiksilver, Billabong and Timberland, among others.

The company, though, will not make any major acquisitions until after it has disposed of Fnac and Conforama, its retail businesses.

Zeitz, who has been at the helm of Puma for 18 years, will assume his role as head of the PPR unit once a new CEO for Puma has been found. Both internal and external candidates will be considered, and Puma has not set a time limit for finding a new CEO.

Puma will also change its legal structure to that of a European corporation and be renamed Puma SE, with only one board to be chaired by Zeitz.

--Compiled by Wendy Geister

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