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2006: In a difficult environment, another year of growth in adjusted EPS excluding selected items

Pressmeddelande   •   Feb 13, 2007 11:48 CET

Comparable net sales1: up 8.4% in Q4, up 4.0% in 2006
Adjusted EPS1: down 5.6% in Q4, up 10.3% in 2006

Adjusted EPS1 excluding selected items2: down 1.0% in Q4, up 5.9% in 2006 at €4.88

The consolidated income statement for 2006 is provided in the appendices. Consolidated net income after minority interests for the period was €4,006 million, compared with €2,258 million in 2005, after the impact of the accounting treatment of acquisitions (primarily the acquisition of Aventis) and restructuring costs for a total amount of €3,034 million after tax in 2006 and €4,077 million in 2005 .

In order to give a better representation of its underlying economic performance, the group has decided to present and explain an adjusted consolidated income statement1 for 2006 and the fourth quarter of 2006, and to compare them with an adjusted consolidated income statement for 2005 and the fourth quarter of 2005 respectively. Adjusted net income for 2006 was €7,040 million, compared with €6,335 million for 2005.

Unless otherwise indicated, all sales growth figures in this press release are stated on a comparable basis1.

FOURTH QUARTER: Sustained sales growth
 8.4% growth (5.0% on a reported basis) in net sales to €7,356 million, despite the ongoing impact of healthcare reforms in France and Germany.
 Fourth-quarter sales impacted by a generic of clopidogrel bisulfate in the United States.
 12.5% growth in “Operating income – current“
 Adjusted EPS of €1.02, down 5.6%, or €1.01 excluding selected items2, down 1.0%.

2006 FULL-YEAR: Demonstrated ability to deliver EPS growth in a year penalized by generics
 Net sales: €28,373 million, up 4.0% (up 3.9% on a reported basis). Excluding the impact of generics of 4 products3 in the United States, sales growth would have been 8.2%.
 Sustained effort in R&D: up 9.5% to €4,430 million.
 Adjusted EPS of €5.23, up 10.3%.
 5.9% growth in adjusted EPS excluding selected items2 (to €4.88, against €4.61 in 2005).

R&D: Significant progress in pipeline with 46 projects in phase IIb/III compared to 35 in February 2006

DIVIDEND: 15.1% increase in the dividend to €1.75 per share to be submitted for approval at the Annual General Meeting of May 31, 2007

2007 GUIDANCE
Barring major adverse events (including events on Lovenox® and Plavix® in the US), the Group expects a growth in 2007 adjusted EPS excluding selected items in the same order of magnitude as 2006 growth, despite the end of protection for Ambien® IR in the United States in April 2007 and generic competition for Eloxatin® in Europe. (see hypothesis p13)


2006 fourth-quarter and full-year net sales

In the fourth quarter of 2006, sanofi-aventis recorded net sales of €7,356 million, a rise of 8.4%. Exchange rate movements (two-thirds relating to the U.S. dollar) had an unfavorable effect of 3.2 points. Changes in Group structure had a negative effect of 0.2 of a point. On a reported basis, net sales increased by 5.0%.
Full-year net sales rose by 4.0% to €28,373 million. Exchange rate movements had a favorable effect of 0.4 of a point. Changes in Group structure had a negative effect of 0.5 of a point. On a reported basis, net sales rose by 3.9%.

Net sales by business segment

Net sales reported by sanofi-aventis comprise net sales generated by the pharmaceuticals business and net sales generated by the human vaccines business.

Pharmaceuticals

Fourth-quarter net sales for the pharmaceuticals business reached €6,550 million, up 6.2%. Net sales of the top 15 products were 11.0% higher at €4,421 million, representing 67.5% of pharmaceuticals net sales, against 64.6% for the comparable period in 2005.
Over 2006 as a whole, pharmaceuticals net sales, despite being impacted by generics of 4 products4 in the United States and the effect of healthcare reforms in France and Germany, reach €25,840 million up 2.5%. Net sales of the top 15 products were up 6.4% at €17,289 million, representing 66.9% of pharmaceuticals net sales, compared with 64.4% in 2005. Excluding the impact of generics of Allegra® and Amaryl® in the United States, growth in net sales of the top 15 products would have been 12.4%.

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