The Franco-German pharmaceutical company Aventis on Wednesday reported after-tax profits of €2.09 million ($2.27 million) in its core areas for 2002, up from €1.5 million the previous year and matching analysts expectations. Despite the surge in profits, Aventis said it expects lower results for 2003. Analysts say Aventis’ reserved forecast is the result of stronger competition, particularly from Claritin, a subsidiary of the U.S. pharmaceutical giant Schering-Plough. Claritin manufactures a non-prescription drug similar to Aventis’ most-successful product, Allegra, which is used to fight allergies. The firm, which emerged from the merger of Rhone-Poulenc and Hoechst, specializes in prescription drugs and vaccines.