It was at the Parc des Expositions, in the fifteenth in Paris, a first for the pharmaceutical laboratory hitherto accustomed to the Palais des Congrès at Porte Maillot, that the general meeting of Sanofi was held. It went off without a hitch. The shareholders had to vote on seventeen ordinary draft resolutions and one extraordinary draft resolution. The third resolution, which concerns the payment of an additional dividend in kind for the distribution of Euroapi shares, was widely adopted. It signs a major event: the split of the manufacturing division of active ingredients of Sanofi, which will go public this Friday. The Euroapi shares thus distributed will represent approximately 58% of the capital of the new entity.
Investir has been entrusted with several hundred proxies representing 50,135 shares.
Arrival at the entrance of room 1, nice point documentation but it directs on the site of Sanofi to seek the resolutions. What did not fail to dissatisfy the shareholders exceeded by this “all digital”.
President Serge Weinberg opens the session: “ Our group made progress in 2021 despite bad winds. The business grew by 7% at constant exchange rates and Dupixent, our multi-indication immunology treatment, posted an impressive increase of 52% last year. It places the group at the forefront of the world in the field of immunology. All the other divisions also progressed, allowing the net result per share to gain 15.5%. Beyond these figures, we conducted a sustained investment policy by devoting 6.4 billion to the acquisition of biotechs. It was also the year that made it possible to continue the miracles of science. »
The Chairman then returned to Sanofi’s stock market performance: ” The action, since January 2, gained 13.3% against a decline of 9.9% of the Cac 40 and a quasi-stability of the European and American pharmacy. This shows that Sanofi has succeeded in separating itself from the market “.
No less than 5.7 billion were also spent on R&D.
It is the turn of the managing director, the British Paul Hudson. He launches into French for a few minutes, an effort applauded by the assembly, to explain the group’s new logo, which pays homage to the past and resembles that of Sanofi in 1973. He specifies that Sanofi will be 50 years old next year.
He talks about his “Play to win” strategic plan, estimating first of all that the laboratory is on track to achieve its objectives for the current year. 2022 will be a year of inflection before a new era in 2023 which will be marked by the launch of several innovative and transformative drugs.
The ambitions of the “Play to win” plan
The three pillars of the strategy are explained: a turnover of 13 billion at cruising speed for Dupixent but ” which could be only a step » he specifies, « beyond Dupixent, we are targeting a fourfold increase in immunology revenues by 2030 with 13 transformative drugs. The doubling of sales of the vaccines division by the end of the decade is confirmed, knowing that out of 10 new vaccines which should see the light of day by 2025, six will be based on messenger RNA. Finally, having a portfolio of 90 first-rate projects, mainly in immunology, neurology and vaccines, is also one of the major focuses of the plan.
The next intervention by John Reed, the world director of research, also received loud applause. He recalls that 7 clinical studies were positive in 2021 while Sanofi obtained 8 major approvals and 28 “fast track” designations.
Ten new molecules entered the clinical phase in internal research last year. It’s unprecedented.
John Reed then details the drugs on which he has high hopes: a treatment for obstructive pulmonary bronchitis (COPD), a drug against graft versus host rejection (rezinock), a treatment for hemorrhagic episodes of hemophilia A (efanesoctocog) and in rare diseases, xenpozyme against lysocomal overload and finally the Nirsuvimab vaccine.
After the summary of the company’s CSR commitments by Sandrine Bouttier-Streff, the floor is given to the financial director, Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon, who details the accounts and considers himself very confident in achieving the objective of achieving 2, 5 billion in cost savings by 2022. He reviews the very solid financial situation of Sanofi, whose free cash flow generation has doubled since 2018 to reach 8 billion, and whose equity stands at 69 billion euros for 10 billion of net debt.
Executive compensation is detailed. Regarding that of Paul Hudson for the fixed part subject to the vote, it will increase from 1.3 million to 1.4 million from 2022.
For 2021 (ex-post vote), the variable is 2.31 million euros compared to 2.21 for 2020. Including the fixed 1.3 million, the total thus reaches 3.61 million and increased by 2.7% compared to the previous year.
The famous “Golden Hello”, the indemnity for taking office paid in two installments in cash, represents 2.2 million paid in 2021 and around 2 million paid in 2022.
The renewal of the mandates of four directors, including the general manager Paul Hudson, Christophe Babule, financial director of L’Oréal, Patrick Kron and Gilles Schnep, president of Danone, was the subject of in-depth comments.
Three new directors in reinforcement (or replacement of departing members) of the board are presented at length. They are Carole Ferrand, Chief Financial Officer at Capgemini, Emile Voest, Doctor of Medicine and Director of Cancer Core Europe, and Antoine Yver, Doctor of Medicine and Head of Medical Development at Centessa Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (States -United). The board will have 16 members at the end of the GA.
Jean-Baptiste de Chatillon then explains how the stock market listing of the Euroapi production division will be carried out. Sanofi shareholders will receive one Euroapi share for every 23 Sanofi shares, in the form of an additional dividend. The distribution will be made on May 10, ie 4 days after the group’s first listing on the stock exchange.
Euroapi is the second largest manufacturer in the world of active pharmaceutical ingredients (including small synthetic molecules and large molecules such as peptides and oligonucleotides). The group is aiming for a turnover of around one billion in 2022.
The French State plans to acquire 12% of the capital for a maximum amount of 150 million euros. Sanofi will retain 30% of the capital of Euroapi, the laboratory representing 49% of the drug production company’s billings in 2021.
Opening of the questions/answers session.
Asked about Paul Hudson’s deemed exorbitant salary, Serge Weinberg replied: “ We had a duty to recruit the very best in the global market for highly competitive pharmaceutical company management. It is today the least paid CEO of the market. Only that of the director of Bayer is below while their performance is far from equaling that of Sanofi. »
On the subject of depakine, the president replied that it was very complex with a multitude of civil, criminal, administrative tribunal and class action procedures. ” In French law, there is no possibility of having an agreement as in American law ” he clarified, ” the procedures continue and the product continues to be prescribed to some patients with epilepsy who really need it “.
Challenged over the vaccine against covid which never saw the light of day, a shame for the world leader in the vaccine, Serge Weinberg admitted that this failure had been extremely painful. ” We figured out we were left behind on messenger RNAadded Paul Hudson. Also, our flu vaccine platform was very slow. It takes 5 years to develop a more classic recombinant vaccine. It’s already a miracle that we managed to develop a universal booster with a very strong immune response and which can be stored at room temperature. It is under review by the EMA and could be used in the fall if a booster is needed. »
Serge Weinberg also specified that the price of the Sanofi vaccine would be half that of the American vaccine from Pfizer. He also did not hesitate to indicate that this temporary monopoly had not been reflected in the valuation of the American laboratory…
Passage to the vote: all the resolutions were largely adopted.