© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A logo on the Sanofi exhibition space at the Viva Technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups at Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, France June 15, 2022. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier
By Ludwig Burger
(Reuters) – French drugmaker Sanofi (NASDAQ:) on Friday forecast faster earnings growth this year on strong demand for its bestselling drug Dupixent and for its flu vaccines.
Sanofi said in a statement that it now expects 2022 adjusted earnings per share to grow by about 16%, not taking into account an expected positive currency impact of between 9.5% and 10.5%. It had previously forecast growth of 15%.
Sanofi reported a 26.5% rise in third-quarter business operating income, or adjusted earnings before interest and tax, to 4.5 billion euros ($4.49 billion), well ahead of an average analyst estimate of 4.17 billion euros.
Sanofi shares plunged in August after disappointing trial results of a once-promising breast cancer drug candidate heightened concerns about the company’s development pipeline and investors also fretted over legal claims that heartburn drug Zantac caused cancer.
The shares have not recovered much and Credit Suisse analysts have said Sanofi is trading about one third below its European peers, relative to estimated 2023 earnings.
Finance chief Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon, who has described the discount as grossly overdone, said on Friday that Sanofi would follow through on its strategy.”We know we have some headwinds and we are there to fight them and to demonstrate to our shareholders that we can create more value,” he told journalists in a call.
Revenue from exzema and asthma drug Dupixent, jointly developed with Regeneron (NASDAQ:), jumped by a currency-adjusted 44.5% to 2.3 billion euros in the quarter, soundly beating an analyst consensus of 2.1 billion euros.
The company is pursuing further growth for Dupixent in inflammatory skin conditions and smoker’s lung, where keenly awaited trial data is expected in the first half of 2023.
Sales from influenza vaccines jumped by a currency-adjusted 32.4% to 2 billion euros, surpassing an analyst consensus of 1.6 billion euros, on swift uptake of a more expensive new high-dose shot.
CFO de Chatillon said the company also benefited during the quarter from bringing forward the seasonal production ramp-up and distribution but added that overall appetite in the U.S. population for flu shots was low.
A strong U.S. dollar also boosted the value of overseas group revenues.
($1 = 1.0015 euros)