For a company that sells running shoes, German sporting goods and apparel powerhouse Adidas has long preferred to tiptoe in the Indian market. Many global retail giants believe that this is a market where pots of money can be made, but Adidas has largely been cool to India.

As early as 2011, the group identified North America, Greater China, Russia/CIS, Latin America, Japan and the UK as key growth markets. India managed to find mention in the annual report, but as an emerging market. Adidas chief corporate communication officer Jan Runau said India is important. How much so? "In terms of turnover, it is neither among our Top Ten markets globally nor in the Top Three in Asia."

But for a market on the backburner, Adidas devoted considerable time and emphasis on India while announcing its first-quarter results earlier this month. Only, it wasn't for reasons it would have preferred or imagined.

Adidas global boss Herbert Hainer said "commercial irregularities" at its Reebok unit in India had wiped out e125 million (about Rs 870 crore) from its global profits. The problems, limited to India, could lead to further charges of around e70 million (Rs 488.39 crore), he said.

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This article was originally published in the Economic Times dated 13th May, 2012, written by Binoy Prabhakar & Chaitali Chakravarty, associated with the Economic Times Bureau.