PARIS, April 29 (Reuters) - French drugmaker Sanofi reported lower-than-expected first-quarter earnings on Tuesday, weighed down by a delay in supply of paediatric vaccines in emerging markets and generic competition in animal health.
The company however posted double-digit growth in sales of its diabetes, consumer healthcare and rare diseases drugs and confirmed its full-year guidance for earnings growth of 4 to 7 percent at constant exchange rates.
Sanofi's business net income, which excludes items such as amortisation and legal costs, fell 3.2 percent to 1.547 billion euros ($2.14 billion) on sales of 7.842 billion, putting business EPS at 1.17 euros per share. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected EPS of 1.20 euros a share on sales of 8.08 billion.
Adverse foreign exchange rates slashed 6.2 percentage points off sales growth. Sales in emerging markets grew 5.5 percent at constant exchange rates and climbed 7.5 percent in the United States but remained muted in Western Europe and Japan.
Sanofi, which was already hit last year by a manufacturing problem at a vaccine plant in Canada, said its performance was affected this quarter by a delay in supply of its 5-in-1 infant paediatric vaccine Pentaxim in Mexico and China.
Sanofi has also seen its popular Frontline tick and flea control product hit by generic competition and despite the recent launch of a follow-on product, NexGard, sales at its animal health unit fell 1.6 percent at constant exchange rates.
Sanofi's Chief Executive Chris Viehbacher tol reporters on a conference call he would continue to look at bolt-on acquisitions in emerging markets, over the counter products and animal health. ($1 = 0.7223 Euros) (Reporting by Natalie Huet; Editing by Andrew Callus)