The month-long Tour de France odyssey has entered its second half. Notably, the standards of some publicly traded companies are flying in this iconic bikathon across most of France and also occasionally touching parts of nearby countries. The main rationale for their participation, of course, is the global popularity and marketing value of this annual event which marks its centennial this year.
Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN) has been harnessing the marketing potential of the Tour since 2008 to promote international sales of its navigation, communication and information devices and applications. Last year, the company was joined by Japan-based electric and electronic appliance manufacturer Sharp as the title sponsor of the Garmin-Sharp team, one of two squads now bearing the U.S. banner in the multination cycling contest.
Stars in the roadshow
The team has made its presence felt in the Tour with a win of one of its riders, Daniel Martin, in stage 9 of the tour. This early victory and the possibility of loftier team standing in the leader board en route to the race finish should help bring some cheer and refocus investor interest on Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN).
The company’s sales have been taking a beating lately with declines across all its segments except in its fitness unit, which grew by 2% during the first quarter. In significant moves, Garmin Ltd. (NASDAQ:GRMN) recently introduced production innovations for cyclists and golfers which likewise bring attention to its other initiatives to further cultivate shareholder value via new product offerings in its automotive, aviation, and marine segments.
Sharp, in the same vein, stands to have its maiden Tour appearance as a rallying point to gain investor interest on its efforts to weather the difficulties in its Japanese home territory. The French road show can also serve as veritable medium for the company to draw attention to its campaign for a larger slice of the markets in China, Europe, and North America, coupled with the bid to reinvent itself into a more service-oriented organization.
A tiring entry
Suspect though is the Tour’s corporate worth for RadioShack Corporation (NYSE:RSH), the Texas-based electronic retailer, which is a title sponsor for the Luxembourg pro cycling team. True, this company has over 4,000 retail outlets, but its operations can’t truly be called global in scale. These outlets are confined to the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. To its credit though, RadioShack Corporation (NYSE:RSH) is now reportedly scrapping its cycling sponsorship and shifting its strategic business focus to Asia.