Global sports giant Puma hailed sponored sprinter Usain Bolt in the first line of its 2012 annual report otherwise marked by poor financial results, released last Thursday.
"Usain Bolt and our Jamaican track and field athletes made headlines again at the Olympic Summer Games in London and thrilled viewers across the globe with their outstanding performances," stated the company in its annual report released Thursday Valentine's Day.
On the sports side, "2012 could not have been a better year for PUMA" gaining 19 medals and outstanding performances by its top sponsored athletes and track and field associations. However its net earnings dipped 69.5 per cent to 70.2 million mainly due to one-off restructuring costs. But even discounting these costs earning were still below previous year.
"Despite a weak economic market environment, we were able to significantly increase sales last year," it added about revenue which jumped 8.7 per cent year on year to 3.2 billion.
Bolt became the first man to defend his 100m and 200m Olympic championships as a result of the summer games. Bolt then dubbed himself a sprinting legend.
In 2010, Bolt signed a four-year deal with Puma for an undisclosed sum. Puma stressed that it was by far the largest ever given to a track-and-field athlete. Unconfirmed estimates value the deal close to US$10 million (J$910 million) per year.
Puma which also sponsors the Jamaica athletic team credited their performance.
"As a supplier for the Jamaica, Uganda and Grenada teams and the track and field teams from Sweden, Norway, the Dominican Republic, the Czech Republic and Antigua, we won a total of 19 Olympic medals in London led by the fastest man in the world and the absolute superstar of this summer, Usain Bolt and with our brand presence at our 'PUMA YARD' event site, we again linked professional sports and lifestyle together in an inimitable way," said Puma.
Puma's net earnings which dropped significantly compared to the previous year from 230.1 million to 70.2 million relate significantly to one off expenses of 177.5 million, the company explained.
"At the beginning of the second half of the year, the managing directors and the Administrative Board therefore decided to accelerate the group-wide transformation program to include a cost-reduction program, thus building a platform to ensure profitable growth in the future," Puma said.
The global sporting goods industry appeared largely unperturbed by the sovereign debt crisis and was able to show signs of growth, supported by major sporting events such as the Olympic Games and the European Football Championship in Poland and the Ukraine, the company said.
It said its athletes, including "Usain Bolt put their stamp on the Olympic Games in London", the Italian PUMA team took second place at the European Championships in Poland and the Ukraine and the PUMA Ocean Racing Crew, sailing the Mar Mostro, achieved a sensational third place after a spectacular race to catch up in the finals of the global sailing regatta Volvo Ocean Race.