EconomySanofi proposes a higher dividend after a surge in...

Sanofi proposes a higher dividend after a surge in its annual net profit

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648x415 le logo de sanofi sur les murs du siege de l entreprise a paris

The Sanofi logo on the walls of the company’s headquarters in Paris. – Thibault Camus / AP / Sipa

The setback on its anti-Covid vaccine has not affected Sanofi’s results: on the strength of a surge in its net profit last year, certainly linked to a one-off operation, the French pharmaceutical giant will spoil its shareholders, at the risk to revive the controversy.

Driven mainly by the sale of a large part of its shares in Regeneron, the American biotech which developed the anti-Covid treatment used by Donald Trump, Sanofi earned 12.3 billion euros in net profit in 2020, against 2, 8 billion a year earlier, an increase of nearly 340%.

More than 4 billion euros for shareholders

In the process, he announced Friday that he would propose a dividend of 3.20 euros per share – against 3.15 euros for the previous year – which will represent a total of more than 4 billion euros for its shareholders.

The pharmaceutical giant publishes these results after several days of union action against its strategy, at the call of the CGT in particular. Last year, the laboratory had indeed announced 1,700 job cuts, including about a thousand in France. According to the unions, nearly 400 of these deletions will take place in research, which has earned him a strong question from elected officials, including François Ruffin (LFI).

The pill goes badly while Sanofi, one of the world leaders in the world of vaccines, recorded a delay of several months in the development of its main candidate in the face of Covid-19. This is now expected at the end of 2021, almost a year after the first vaccines authorized in Europe, those from Pfizer / BioNtech and Moderna.

2021 promises to be profitable

Like other international laboratories before it, Sanofi decided at the end of 2019, under the impetus of its new CEO Paul Hudson, to withdraw from certain sectors, such as diabetes, in favor of more profitable and profitable fields, such as immunotherapy. But the group has repeatedly claimed that vaccines were not affected by the cuts in research.

Moreover, the vaccines division (influenza, etc.) was particularly dynamic last year, with almost 6 billion euros in sales, an increase of almost 9%.

In view of these positive results, it therefore makes sense to pay a dividend to shareholders, argues the company. “Sanofi operating in a very competitive international environment, suspending the dividend or reducing it due to the current pandemic would weaken the company, reduce its attractiveness and thus alter its ability to innovate in the long term for patients”, defended Paul Hudson Friday morning.

As for dividends, they will also benefit French employees of Sanofi, according to a note from management released internally on Friday, which recalls that 90% of them are shareholders of the group. In addition, the collective variable compensation paid to them should be higher than 2019, according to this same note.

Increase in turnover

Last year, the company recorded sales of 36 billion euros, up some 3% at constant exchange rates, supported by vaccines but also the growth of its flagship product Dupixent.

Developed in collaboration with Regeneron, this drug, used in particular in the treatment of asthma or atopic dermatitis, could eventually bring in more than 10 billion euros in turnover, against 3.5 billion today. hui. Relying on these two pillars, Sanofi also anticipates for 2021 a net profit per share of activities (EPS), one of its preferred financial indicators, in clear progression, without however giving a turnover target. .

The group is not the only one to count on a good year 2021. The American giant Pfizer has, a few days ago, estimated that the sales of its anti-Covid vaccine alone would reach around 15 billion dollars by the end of the year.

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