Sanofi-Aventis Profit Falls Short of Forecasts


French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis on Tuesday reported a 6.9 percent rise in fourth-quarter adjusted earnings per share and predicted a 7 percent gain for 2008 at a constant euro/dollar exchange rate.

The world's third biggest pharmaceuticals company also posted fourth-quarter adjusted net profit up 6.2 percent to 1.462 billion euros ($2.13 billion) and adjusted operating profit down 13.7 percent to 1.960 billion euros.

Quarterly adjusted sales fell 6.0 percent to 6.911 billion euros.

Analysts surveyed by Reuters had on average predicted a quarterly net profit of 1.44 billion euros, operating profit of 2.04 billion euros and earnjings per share of 1.08 euros.

Sanofi-Aventis said it would raise its dividend for 2007 by 18.3 percent to 2.07 euros per share.

The company said it would complete its share buyback program by its May annual meeting.