Sports goods giant Adidas-Salomon has decided to sell off its Salomon division to Finnish company Amer Sports for approximately €485 million.

Adidas-Samomon, which bought the ski and snowboard company Salomon eight years ago, will be known as Adidas again from 2006 onwards.

Salomon has been struggling to make ends meet recently, influenced by a flagging demand for ski equipment and a higher euro.

Adidas-Salomon's chairman and  chief executive Herbert Hainer said that the time had come to "focus even more" on its core athletic footwear and apparel business and its growing golf unit.

Amer Sports, which will now become the world's biggest ski equipment producer, is also buying Salomon's  Bonfire snowboarding brand, the Arc'Teryx technical outdoor apparel unit, the Mavic bicycle component maker division and skateboard manufacturer Cliché. TaylorMade golf is the only unit of Salomon that Adidas is not selling off.

The completed company, which will also include Amer's Wilson, Suunto, Atomic and Precor labels, will be expected to see annual sales of €1.7 billion and have 6,800 employees.

The acquisition, expected to close in September, is dependent on US and EU competition approval.

Salomon, which laid off 160 employees in France last December, will continue on its programme of restructuring, Amer said.

Adidas-Salomon yesterday said that profits rose 46 per cent to €105 million in the first three months of the year, but that Salomon sales dropped 9 per cent in the first quarter, with widened operating losses to €25m.