Sports shoe, apparel and equipment manufacturer Adidas-Salomon AG on Wednesday posted a better-than-expected jump in second quarter profits as the soccer World Cup sent sales surging.

The world’s second largest sports goods firm said its quarterly net profit climbed to 25 million euros from 24 million euros in the year-ago period, compared with a city outlook of a fall to 22 million euros.

Sales soared 10 per cent to 1.5 billion euros with sales in the Asian region – where the World Cup was held – up 26 per cent to 539 million euros as adidas cashed in on demand for colourful replica shirts of the 10 teams it supplied with kit and equipment.

Sales rose eight per cent in the North America region in the first half to 953 million euros, while in Europe, sales climbed three per cent to 1.6 billion, but in Latin America sales fell five per cent in the first six months of the fiscal year on a currency neutral basis.

CEO Herbert Heiner commented: “What is most important for us is the strong sales outlook reflected in the adidas order backlogs, which are up 11 per cent on an underlying basis. This is the biggest increase since 1998.”

He added: “For the quarter, sales and earnings continued to develop positively, with North America and Asia leading the way. With the majority of our expenses now behind us, we expect business to accelerate in the second half of the year, particularly our earnings growth.

“I am therefore pleased to confirm our 2002 financial targets of at least five per cent sales growth and 5-10 per cent earnings improvement for the full year.”