UPDATE 1-Puma expects sportswear prices to rise in euro zone -CFO
(Adds more comments CFO on hedging, Russia)
HERZOGENAURACH, Germany Feb 16 (Reuters) - Puma expects prices for sportswear to rise in the euro zone next year, pointing to a strengthening dollar versus the common currency, Chief Financial Officer Michael Laemmermann said.
"I expect that the industry will raise prices in 2016," he told Reuters on Monday.
The sportswear industry sources the vast majority of products from Asia in U.S. dollar contracts, squeezing margins for goods sold in a falling euro. The dollar is trading at its highest level since 2003 versus the euro.
Laemmermann said Puma should be able to hedge against the strength of the dollar this year, noting that it was hedged for a euro at $1.31 this year and at $1.14 for 2016.
In Russia, where rival German sportswear firm Adidas is also suffering, he said even price rises were not enough to counteract the dramatic fall of the rouble: "The profitability of the industry in Russia has been put into question."
Meanwhile, Puma remains unhedged against currency fluctuations in Mexico, a more important market for Puma than Russia, as it is too expensive: "At a premium of 10 percent, one prefers to accept the exchange rate fluctuations." (Reporting by Joern Poltz; Writing by Christoph Steitz; editing by Susan Thomas)
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