Written by Xavier Tello
This morning sanofi-aventis has released to the press its financial results for 2008.
The results, conservative (as expected) but “above guidance” are shown bellow.
2008 Net Sales: € 27,568 M (+ 3.7%)
EPS at €5.49 (+6.2%)
Product net sales (M €):
- Lovenox® 2,738 (+ 10.6%)
- Plavix® 2,616 (+ 10.5%)
- Lantus® 2,450 (+ 27.7%)
- Taxotere 2,033 (+ 13.2%)
- Eloxatin® 1,348 (- 5.7%)
- Aprovel® 1,202 (+ 14.2%)
- Vaccines 2,861 (+ 9.6%)
Starting a new trail
Chris Viehbacher, CEO of sanofi-aventis, has given today an interview to The Financial Times. This by itself is rather innovative, while external communication has not been exactly one of the strongest points of the company.
Viehbacher, has told the British paper about his plans for the immediate future expansion of the French titan. His main priority: to switch the company “from an EU/US-centric pharma company to a global healthcare company”.
According to the Canadian/German executive, sanofi-aventis “has missed the boat” in diversifying into biological medicines.
In a comment clearly oriented towards an eventual resizing and reshaping of the company, Viehbacher mentioned that “[big] size is an issue… that [has] led to lower productivity”.
At this point it is clear that the new business approach of the company will be:
- Consumer health
Sanofi-Aventis is a very good example of a big winner emerged from the “Blockbuster” era, coming from a medium sized enterprise after the launch of Plavix® and Aprovel® at the mid 90s, and expanding by the latter acquisitions of Synthélabo and Aventis. Today, sanofi-aventis is facing great danger derived from the lost of key patents up to 2012.
In another interview (now for Le Figaro), Viehbacher has mentioned: “there’s as big gap between the image of sanofi-aventis and the reality”.
During the last years, for some reason, several of the business decisions and results have not impressed the markets and have not made happy shareholders.
However at the moment of writing this post, the markets had given a more-than warm welcome to the news with a 5.07% increase in share value. (By the end of the day in France, stocks had won more than 8%)
New Executive Positions are created.
Today also, some interesting announcements were made.
Laurence Debroux was appointed Senior Vice-President, Chief Strategic Officer (CSO). The young and brilliant Senior Vice President and actual CFO will remain in charge of the finances and will assure an smooth transition to the imminent appointment of a brand new occupant of that position.
The second nomination was Jean-Pierre Lehner, M.D., as Senior Vice-President, Chief Medical Officer (CMO). He was previously Senior Vice President, Medical & Regulatory Affairs.
An external appointment was also made: Elias Zerhouni, MD as Scientific Advisor to the CEO. Dr. Zerhouni’s outstanding career includes been Director of the National Institutes of Health until October 2008. He is a Senior Fellow of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a member of the Legion d’Honneur from France
This new positions could clearly be read as the new route chosen by Viehbacher.
Mrs. Debroux will be in charge of giving appropriate guidance on the new potential acquisitions.
Dr. Lehner’s appointment, reporting to the CSO is a clear message of the real concern the company will have regarding safety and benefits of new products.
Dr. Zerhouni’s invitation gives a fresh and “west-Atlantic” vision to the potential new developments in bio and nanotechnology, as well as new opportunities at the vaccines field.
Today is a particularly interesting day for sanofi-aventis. The official results presentation will be held at the afternoon (GMT +1). It’s –probably- the first day of a radical new era for the French company.