Selling and general expenses increased by 5.9%, or 1.5% at constant exchange rates, to euro 1,895 million. The ratio of selling and general expenses to net sales fell by 1.2 points to 25.5%, reflecting the ongoing program of adaptation to market conditions.
Other current operating income, net of expenses totaled euro 132 million, compared with euro 74 million for the second quarter of 2008. The year-on-year change in this line reflects gains on currency hedging and an increase in the royalty collected by sanofi-aventis on sales of Copaxone((R)) in North America.
Operating income - current was up 26.8% at euro 3,046 million. At constant exchange rates, growth was 16.0%. The ratio of operating income - current to net sales improved by 5.1 points to 41.0%.
Net financial expenses were virtually unchanged at euro 70 million. Financial expenses rose slightly, reflecting the change in net debt arising from payment of the Zentiva purchase consideration at the end of the first quarter and from the dividend payout.
The effective tax rate was 0.6 of a point lower at 29%, in line with the 2008 full-year rate.
The share of profits from associates was up 22.6% at euro 266 million, with the share of after-tax profits from territories managed by BMS under the Plavix((R)) and Avapro((R)) alliance 42.7% higher at euro 207 million due to a good performance by Plavix((R)) in the United States and a favorable dollar effect. The contribution from Merial rose by 21.6%, and the contribution from Sanofi Pasteur MSD also grew.
Minority interests were 5.7% higher at euro 111 million. The share of pre-tax profits paid to BM
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