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Sanofi warns on profit after weak China hits third-quarter

Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013 | 3:17 AM ET
Eric Piermont | AFP | Getty Images

French drugmaker Sanofi warned on its 2013 profit again as it reported lower-than-expected quarterly results, hit by a sharp slowdown in China, lower generic sales in Brazil and a manufacturing issue at its Toronto vaccine plant.

Sanofi, which had already cut its forecast in August, said it now expected full-year earnings per share to be around 10 percent lower than in 2012 at constant exchange rates, at the bottom end of its previous guidance of a 7-10 percent drop.

The world's fourth-largest pharmaceutical company by prescription drug sales is among the most exposed to emerging markets, where it makes nearly a third of its revenue.

(Read more: Pfizer profitbeats estimate)

A recent crackdown on corruption in China's pharmaceutical industry has made doctors wary of seeing drug representatives for fear of being caught up in the scandal. Britain's GlaxoSmithKline, at the center of the furor, said last week its sales in the country had dropped more than 60 percent in the quarter.

Sanofi's sales in China - which last year accounted for less than 4 percent of group revenue but posted the strongest growth - rose 5 percent in the third quarter. In the three months to end-June, before the scandal, growth was 15.3 percent year-on-year.

(Read more: Merck Q3 profit beats estimate, but Januvia sales slump)

Sanofi's global sales fell 6.7 percent to 8.432 billion euros ($11.61 billion) in the third quarter, generating earnings per share (EPS) of 1.35 euros, down 19.2 percent.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S on average had forecast sales of 8.55 billion euros and EPS of 1.43 euros.

Business net income, which excludes items such as amortization and legal costs, declined 18.7 pct to 1.789 billion euros.

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