PARIS, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Sanofi, France's largest drugmaker, said it expected 2017 earnings per share to be stable or slightly lower after its fourth quarter results were affected by an increase in taxes and one-off charges.
The company had warned investors in 2015 not to expect any 'meaningful' profit growth for two years because of a downturn in its embattled diabetes division.
Sanofi said fourth-quarter business net income fell 2.9 percent at constant exchange rates to 1.61 billion euros ($1.7 billion). Total sales rose 3.4 percent to 8.87 billion euros.
Analysts polled by Reuters in partnership with Inquiry Financial had on average been expecting business net profit of 1.57 billion euros and net sales of 8.94 billion.
Sanofi said its fourth-quarter effective tax rate had reached 24 pct compared with 17.4 pct in 2015.
$1 = 0.9367 euros Reporting by Matthias Blamont and Matthieu Protard; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta