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Sanofi sees strong earnings despite COVID vaccine delay

French pharmaceutical group Sanofi posted strong 2021 sales on Friday and expects another good performance in 2022, as the popularity of its asthma therapy offset setbacks in developing a COVID vaccine.

While Sanofi has yet to produce a jab against COVID, its Dupixent drug, which also treats eczema, has been a huge success, with the drug recording double-digit sales growth.

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The company posted overall sales of 37.8 billion euros ($43.3 billion) in 2021, a 4.8% increase, according to its annual earnings statement.

Sanofi’s earnings per share (EPS) — a measure of a company’s profitability — rose by a better-than-expected 12%.

The company said it expects “low double-digit” growth of its EPS in 2022. EPS is a firm’s net profit divided by outstanding shares.

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“Our excellent financial performance validates our ability to increase profitability through improved product mix, supported by expense management and the reinvestment of savings behind our growth drivers,” said chief executive Paul Hudson.

Sanofi, he added, is “on a trajectory to achieving our 2022 financial targets.”

The company said it would increase dividends to shareholders to 3.33 euros per share, up from 3.20 euros last year, amounting to a total of 4.1 billion euros in payments.

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Last year, Sanofi abandoned efforts to develop a COVID vaccine based on the groundbreaking mRNA technology that proved a huge success for its US rivals Moderna and Pfizer, which partnered with Germany’s BioNTech.

The French firm is still working on a vaccine using a different method but results from the final clinical trials, which had been expected by the end of last year after a delay, were further pushed back to the first quarter of 2022.

Dupixent, meanwhile, brought in 5.2 billion euros in sales last year, a 53% increase from 2020, with more than half of the revenue generated in the United States.

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