FRANKFURT May 3 Adidas AG's failure
to narrow the market share gap with rival sportswear maker Nike
Inc means shareholders should refuse to back the German
company's management, a top investor was quoted as saying.
Ingo Speich, a fund manager with Union Investment, told
German weekly Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung the company
had failed to narrow the gap with Nike and he had lost
confidence in management as a result.
"Even at home, in Germany as well as in Europe, Nike is
gaining market share from Adidas," Speich is reported to have
told the paper, according to an advance copy of an article set
to be published on Sunday.
As a result, investors gathering for the company's annual
shareholder's meeting on May 8 should refuse to grant the
customary endorsement of management's actions, said the investor
whose fund is Adidas's tenth-largest shareholder with a 0.89
"Nike is pulling ahead of Adidas, against this background it
is incomprehensible why the supervisory board extended Herbert
Hainer's contract by two years," Speich told the paper,
referring to the company's chief executive.
Adidas said in March Hainer would remain CEO until March
Speich said Adidas's targets for 2015 are unrealistic under
the current management. "We no longer have confidence," Speich
is said to have told the paper.
A spokesman for Adidas said Speich's views were "one sided"
and said the company had delivered record profits in 2013.
No-one at Union Investment could be reached for comment.
Adidas, whose shares dropped last month to their lowest in a
year, had set targets for 2015 sales of 17 billion euros ($23.4
billion) and an operating margin of 11 percent - both ambitious
given a target of between 8.5 and 9 percent for 2014 and 2013
sales falling 3 percent to 14.5 billion euros.
The company warned in March that weakening emerging market
currencies, notably the Russian rouble, would hurt 2014 results
and posed a risk to its 2015 targets, even as sales are helped
by the soccer World Cup.
Nike, which has been encroaching on Adidas' home territory
in western Europe and challenging its dominance in the soccer
market, has said it hopes to reach sales of $36 billion by 2017,
up from $25.3 billion in fiscal 2013.
(Writing by Edward Taylor; Editing by David Holmes)