Sanofi sees difficult 2011 due to generics

9th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

French pharmaceutical group Sanofi-Aventis said on Wednesday that it expects its earnings per share to slide by five to 10 percent this year due to competition from generic drugs.

The company reported a 3.8 percent in net income attributable to shareholders to 5.5 billion euros ($7.5 billion), despite an estimated two billion euros in lost sales

"2010 was the first year in which the patent cliff really became visible with generic competition for several of our products," chief executive Christopher Viehbacher said in a statement.

The company plans to propose a dividend of 2.50 euros per share compared to 2.40 euros last year, with an option of payment in shares.

Despite strong growth for many of its products it said it expects earnings per share to drop by five to 10 percent in 2011 due to continued pressure from generics.

The earnings forecast does not include any possible benefit from the potential acquisition of Genzyme, with the talks on the purchase of the US biotech firm "progressing", Viehbacher said in a conference call.

Sanofi's shares were down 1.66 percent in morning trading at 0940 GMT while Paris' CAC-40 was off 0.03 percent.

© 2011 AFP

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