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Weak dollar contains Sanofi growth

Published on 31/10/03 at 11:00am

The weakness of the US dollar more than halved Sanofi-Synthelabo's earnings in the first half of this year, but disguised strong underlying growth across its portfolio of products.

The French pharma company saw currency fluctuations take a 7.8% chunk out of turnover, that still rose by a respectable 6.1% to E3.9 billion in the period.

Sanofi remained confident it could reach its target of close to 20% share earnings for the full year 2003, but only with a euro/dollar exchange rate parity.

Sales growth was in line with analysts' expectations, and was led by anti-blood clotting treatment Plavix, which grew 23% to E 612 million, and cancer treatment Eloxatine, which more than trebled its sales to E384 million.

Deutsche Bank said the apparent end to co-marketer BMS' de-stocking of Plavix that started in the second quarter 2002 helped US sales of the product to surge by an underlying 51% to E 426 million for the second quarter of this year with more growth expected.

Sanofi is confident that 2003 sales of Plavix will total around $2 billion, suggesting a strong acceleration in sales in the second half of the year.

Earnings from Sanofi's top selling drug, the sleeping pill Ambien, stalled at E 627 million partly due to the currency fluctuations in the US. In dollar terms, US turnover rose by 40% to E 884 million.

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