By Matthias Blamont
PARIS (Reuters) – Sanofi <SASY.PA> narrowed its 2018 profit target for the second time this year after it posted higher-than-expected third-quarter profits, helped by robust sales growth at its key vaccines unit and its rare diseases Genzyme division.
The French drugmaker, hurt by declining diabetes sales and a struggle to refill its pipeline sufficiently in recent years, said it was now expecting earnings per share growth this year of 4 to 5 percent, up from a previous 3-5 percent target range.
Third-quarter business net income rose by 10.3 percent at constant exchange rates to 2.3 billion euros ($2.61 billion)while revenues advanced 6.3 percent to 9.4 billion.
Analysts polled by Reuters in partnership with Inquiry Financial had on average been expecting a business net income of 2.14 billion euros on revenues of 9.3 billion.
Sales at Genzyme surged 36.1 percent to 1.9 billion euros. Vaccines revenue, hit during the second quarter by the supply constraint of a combination infant vaccine in China, rose 8.2 percent.
Diabetes and cardiovascular sales, however, fell 12.1 percent.
($1 = 0.8818 euros)
(Reporting by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)