Less than a year after a major liquidity crisis due to the corona pandemic, Adidas feels able to pay dividends again. The world’s second largest sporting goods company announced on Monday a distribution of 3.00 euros per share for the past year, a total of 585 million euros. “This proposal reflects the company’s strengthened financial profile and management’s positive outlook for the year 2021,” said the board. However, the dividend is below the 3.85 euros per share that Adidas actually wanted to pay out for 2019. Because CFO Harm Ohlmeyer needed a billion-dollar bridging loan from the state bank KfW in the corona crisis after the shops were closed for weeks in the first corona wave, the dividend had to be subsequently canceled.
In the meantime, the group has put its finances back in order – thanks to the recovery in business, but also thanks to an additional liquidity cushion of three billion euros through new bonds and a syndicated loan. As early as autumn, Ohlmeyer was able to announce the repayment of the 500 million euros that had ultimately been called up to KfW and thus created the conditions for the resumption of the dividend. The second lockdown in autumn hit Adidas much less.
How much profit Adidas generated in 2020 is unclear. But the dividend should be paid out of the substance. Because after nine months the net result after minority interests was only 281 million (2019: 1.81 billion) euros. For the fourth quarter, Adidas had planned another 100 to 200 million euros operational profit.