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26-07-2012 07:54:00

Sanofi Second-Quarter Net Profit up 16% Boosted by Tax Effect

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By Noemie Bisserbe

PARIS--France's top drug maker Sanofi SA (SNY, SAN.FR) said Thursday it expected its earnings to fall this year, dented by the loss of patents on some of its blockbuster drugs, even as it posted a firm increase in second-quarter net profit, boosted by a tax effect.

The Paris-based pharmaceutical major said net profit attributable to shareholders rose 16% to 1.17 billion euros (US$1.4 billion) in the quarter ended June 30, from EUR1.01 billion a year earlier.

Business net income--the term it uses for adjusted income excluding items such as impacts associated with acquisitions and divestments--was, however, down 9.6% to EUR1.94 billion, hit by the loss of its patents on top-selling drugs--blood thinner Plavix and Avapro, a drug used to treat high blood pressure.

Analysts had forecast a second-quarter business net profit of EUR1.88 billion.

Sanofi's woes underscore drug makers' growing difficulty in keeping their heads above water as they swim from one blockbuster drug to another. On Wednesday, GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK), Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) and Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) reported sharp drops in second-quarter net profit, hit by a wave of patent expirations for top-selling drugs.

Sanofi maintained its full-year guidance for a 12% to 15% decline in business earnings per share in 2012, assuming no major changes in exchange rates.

Analysts, however, expect Sanofi's earnings to rebound from 2013, as the group strives to rely less on innovative drug sales.

Sanofi, which is struggling with patent expirations, has been extending its pharmaceutical business to growth areas such as emerging markets, vaccines, diabetes solutions, consumer health care, innovative products and animal health, in a bid to become less dependent on patented medicines.

Net sales rose 6.2% to EUR8.87 billion, with revenue at the flagship pharmaceutical division increasing 5.1% to EUR7.5 billion.

Write to Noemie Bisserbe at noemie.bisserbe@dowjones.com

Order free Annual Report for Sanofi

Visit http://djnweurope.ar.wilink.com/?ticker=US80105N1054 or call +44 (0)208 391 6028

Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 26, 2012 01:54 ET (05:54 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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