Sales down at sanofi in 2010

 Sanofi-aventis saw sales drop in 2010 and lost more than €2 billion as a result of the patent cliff – but still increased its income and earnings per share (EPS).

Overall sales dropped by 0.8% to €30.8 billion after several products faced competition from generic alternatives, plus the impact of US healthcare reform and EU austerity measures.

But Christopher Viehbacher, CEO (pictured), says the company’s EPS expansion is down to the ‘excellent performance’ of its growth platforms.

Net income for 2010 was €5,457 million, compared with €5,265 million the year before.

Emerging Markets generated in excess of €9 billion in sales, accounting for nearly a third of total sales.

Its vaccines business had a record year with sales of €3,808 million, after pandemic flu vaccines contributed sales of €452 million. The company’s Consumer Health Care and Generics businesses also experienced strong growth.

“2010 was the first year in which the patent cliff really became visible with generic competition for several of our products, notably Lovenox® in the US,” said the CEO.

“However, we have delivered another year of EPS growth due to the excellent performance of our growth platforms, which now account for 54% of sales, and tight cost control. In 2010, these growth platforms accounted for more than €16 billion in sales, an increase of 12.5%, constituting a solid basis for the mid and long term development of our company.”

Sanofi-aventis now expects double digit sales increases in its growth platforms in 2011, but business EPS 5% to 10% lower (at CER) than that booked for 2010, barring major unforeseen adverse events. However, sanofi-aventis says this does not include any benefit from a possible acquisition of Genzyme.