France’s Sanofi reports increased dividend after Covid – 19 vaccine hill

French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, under fire for a delay in its Covid-19 vaccine, reported much higher 2020 revenues and a larger dividend to shareholders on Friday.

It said net profit increased to € 12.3 billion from € 2.8 billion in 2019, boosted by a one-off gain of more than € 7.0 billion from the sale of shares in Regeneron, the US company leading the antibody treatment package for Covid-19 .

The Board of Directors proposed a dividend of EUR 3.20 per share or more than EUR 4.0 billion in total.

The group’s good financial results are in contrast to its poor public image in France after a PR debate about its work to develop a vaccine against coronavirus.

In May last year, its British CEO Paul Hudson said the United States would get its jabs ahead of the rest of the world because of Washington’s investment in its research, sparking harsh criticism in France.

In the end, the group says it will have its candidate ready by the end of 2021 and has announced plans to help competitors Pfizer-BioNTech produce its world-leading virginity.

>> ‘Humiliation’: French see Covid-19 vaccine flops as a sign of decline

The group’s cost-cutting measures, including in its research and development team in France, have also been criticized in the media and by many French politicians.

In its earnings statement, the group said it had saved about 1.7 billion euros in cuts last year, of which about 60 percent has been reinvested.

Sanofi, a leading manufacturer of vaccines worldwide, said sales of the products had increased by almost 9.0 percent to € 6.0 billion last year, with a 38 percent increase in demand for influenza.

(AFP)