One of this earnings season's big talking points has been how the weak dollar has helped U.S. companies' international sales and operations. In Europe, the opposite situation is playing out in some cases. Results from Puma (OTC BB: PMMAY.PK), a company doing well by most measures, end up looking just so-so once converted to euro.
However, this short-term blip doesn't matter much to Puma, since the company is in the process of being acquired by French luxury brands company PPR. It still doesn't help from a financial perspective when a company sees its 7.4% sales growth reduced to 2% when converted to euro, but I have a feeling that Puma's acquirer sees the bigger picture. PPR still seems to be acquiring a healthy company. Puma's margins held close to last year's levels, while earnings per share increased 3.3%. Not a stunning performance, but not terrible, either, given the headwind.
However, the balance sheet poses some concerns, most obviously working capital growth. While sales grew 7.4%, inventory and accounts receivable grew 21% and 9%, respectively. The inventory growth isn't a good sign, but at least it's down from the previous quarter. Given the company's overall strength, it's not a large concern at this point.
Puma has been a well-regarded athletic brand for a long time, but the company has done a very good job in the last few years of transforming itself into a popular fashion brand, too. Its products aren't that different from other companies' offering, but they have just enough brand cachet to sell at a slight premium. (There are at least two pairs of Pumas in our house.)
Puma's growing luxury image explains why PPR, the owner of brands such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, launched its friendly takeover offer. The deal effectively takes a good company out of investors' hands, while adding enough of a premium to shares to make Puma's valuation less attractive. Fools seeking investments in this sector might consider Timberland