PARIS (Reuters) - Sanofi (SASY.PA) reported a 24 percent decline in fourth-quarter profit on Thursday and predicted growth would resume in the second half of 2013 once the impact of drug patent losses eases.
The French drugmaker said earnings in 2013 would be flat to 5 percent lower than in 2012 at constant exchange rates and that it was on track to meet its mid-term targets.
Business net income, which excludes items such as amortisation and legal costs, declined 24.3 percent to 1.57 billion euros ($2.1 billion) in the fourth quarter, the group said in a statement.
Sales in the period rose 0.2 percent to 8.53 billion euros as the impact from austerity measures in Europe and generic competition offset favourable currency moves and growth from rare disease unit Genzyme.
Sanofi was expected to post quarterly business net income of 1.54 billion euros on sales of 8.56 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S estimates.
(Reporting by Elena Berton; Editing by James Regan)