PUMA adhered to its plan to significantly reduce inventory, which improved by 17.5% to € 356.4 million. Accounts receivable were slightly below last year’s level at € 530.7 million. Working capital improved to € 523.3 million (ex acquisition € 507.6 million) from € 599.6 million last year – showing again a significant enhancement compared to previous quarters and thus underpinning our strong focus on managing working capital.
Capex / Cashflow In the first nine months, the company invested € 40.8 million versus € 79.1 million last year. The reduction in capital expenditure together with a solid improvement in working capital led to a strong increase in PUMA’s free cashflow of € 145.1 million from € 17.2 million, showing a strong enhancement compared to last year. An outflow of € 75.8 million versus € 24.9 million last year is related to acquisitions. Taking these acquisitions into account, the free cashflow amounted to € 69.4 million versus an outflow of € 7.7 million last year. Cash Position Given the strong focus on cash management, total cash at the end of September rose from € 297.3 million to € 376.9 million and bank debts declined from € 61.1 million to € 37.4 million this year. As a result, net cash was up from € 236.2 million to € 339.5 million this year, a respectable increase of 43.7%. Outlook 2009 - Market environment remains challenging in Q4 The market and consumer environment is expected to remain challenging. The reengineering and restructuring program is planned to be finalized by the end of the year and will generate improvements in efficiency and cost savings in the future. 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 supportingCreativity, 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