François-Henri Pinault, chairman and chief executive of Kering, which owns Puma and Volcom along with a gang of luxury brands, has told the Financial Times that the group intends to hold on to its majority stake in the sports company until at least 2018. He thus slapped down persistent rumors that the French group intends to sell Puma. Kering bought a majority stake in the German company in 2007. Although the brand was thriving, it turned out that there had been little time to properly integrate all of the new business, meaning that Puma resembled a patchwork with diverging approaches, insufficiently streamlined organization and supply chain, Pinault said. After several lackluster years, the trend was more encouraging in 2015, as Puma's chief executive, Bjørn Gulden, started focusing more strongly on sports performance again. Speculation about a potential sale was fueled earlier this year by the divestment of Electric, which Kering acquired through its purchase of Volcom in 2011. Pinault acknowledged in his interview that the French group had been very patient with Puma, but added that the brand was now on track. He indicated that this had been achieved by addressing the “product engine” and making sure the brand was more relevant in sports.

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