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aris, France-based drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis has posted adjusted earnings per share of 5.49 euros, 6.2% higher than that generated in 2007. And, in constant exchange rates, EPS grew 11.3%, comfortably beating the 9% target.

Net sales for the year slipped 1.7% to 27.6 billion euros due to the negative impact of currency fluctuations (in particular the US dollar) and changes in group structure, but taking these out of the equation turnover actually grew 3.7% on a comparable basis.

Sales growth for the year was driven by strong performances (in CER) by: Lantus (insulin), up 27.7% to 2.5 billion euros; the cancer drug Taxotere (docetaxel), up 13.2% to 2 billion euros; the antithrombotic Lovenox (enoxaparin), up 10.6% to 2.7 billion euros; the blood thinner Plavix (clopidogrel), up 10.5% to 2.6 billion euros; the antihypertensive Aprovel (irbesartan), up 14.2% to 2 billion euros; and the vaccines division, up 9.6% to 2.9 billion euros.

In its forecast for the coming year, the group expects growth in adjusted EPS of at least 7% at CER, “barring major adverse events such as the launch of a generic of Lovenox in the US”.

For the fourth quarter of 2008, the company generated net sales of 7.1 billion euros, climbing 2.6% on a reported basis or 3.6% on a comparable basis. Gross profit grew 5.2% to 5.5 billion euros, while adjusted EPS, excluding certain items, was 1.25 euros, leaping 16.8% over the like, ear-earlier period.

Full details and analysis of Sanofi’s results will be published tomorrow by our on-site reporter