By  on December 21, 2006

Nike Inc.'s earnings climbed 8 percent in the second quarter, driven by strong sales and a retroactive tax benefit.

For the three months ended Nov. 30, the Beaverton, Ore.-based athletic giant reported on Wednesday that earnings grew to $325.6 million, or $1.28 per diluted share, from $301.1 million, or $1.14, in the same period a year ago.

Sales increased 10 percent to $3.8 billion from $3.5 billion, propelled by growth in all of Nike products' regional markets, particularly Asia-Pacific, as well as momentum in other businesses, including Converse Inc., Nike Golf, Nike Bauer Hockey and Cole Haan Holdings Inc.

"The Nike brand and our Nike Inc. portfolio continued to be strong worldwide, driving double-digit top-line growth for the quarter. Nike+, Lebron IV, Nike Pro Revolution, Converse's Wade 1.3 and Cole Haan's Dress Air for women were some of the product introductions creating consumer excitement and marketplace energy," Mark Parker, president and chief executive officer of Nike Inc., said in a statement.

The company benefited from completing a long-term tax agreement with the Dutch government that includes a retroactive tax benefit for fiscal 2006 and the first half of fiscal 2007. This increased earnings per share by 13 cents.

For the first half of the year, earnings fell 4 percent to $702.8 million, or $2.76 a share, from $733.4 million, or $2.77 a share. Sales grew 9 percent to $8 billion from $7.3 billion.

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