May 16, 2006

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German manufacturer of World Cup mascot "Goleo" has declared itself insolvent.
German media reports said sluggish demand for the cuddly toy lion was partly responsible for the firm's problems.
"We filed for insolvency," a spokesman for the Bavarian toy maker Nici AG said, declining to comment further.
The firm, based in the Bavarian town of Altenkunstadt, cited its inability to make payments as its reason for filing for insolvency, a spokesman for the district court in Coburg said.
The product -- a grinning lion with a thick mane -- is on sale ahead of the World Cup at 19.95 euros (13.60 pounds).
He wears a soccer shirt with the number 6 but is trouserless. His sidekick is a talking football called Pille.
Goleo has been derided for having little relevance to Germany, whose national symbol is an eagle.
In 2005, Nici AG generated 155 million euros ($198.5 million) in revenues and employed 500 people.

Posted by dbrown at May 16, 2006 06:50 PM
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