Indian pharmaceutical giant Ranbaxy on Wednesday reported quarterly net profit jumped more than four-fold on-year as performance was boosted by sales of its new copycat cholesterol-busting drug.
The results were welcome news for Ranbaxy's Japanese owner, Daiichi Sankyo, which has seen the Indian firm's earnings hit by a string of US regulatory setbacks since it paid $4.6 billion in 2008 for a controlling stake.
Ranbaxy Laboratories said in a statement it posted a net profit for the three months to March of 12.47 billion rupees ($248 million) from 3.0 billion rupees in the same period a year earlier, far outpacing market expectations.
"Focus on key products and markets, while maintaining emphasis on further strengthening quality and compliance standards, has had a positive impact," Ranbaxy chief executive Arun Sawhney said.
Quarterly sales jumped to 37 billion rupees from 21.4 billion a year earlier, helped by sales of atorvastatin, the generic version of Pfizer's blockbuster cholesterol-reducing drug Lipitor, and foreign exchange gains.
New Delhi-based Ranbaxy launched atorvastatin in late 2011 in the United States and then in Europe.
Shares of Ranbaxy climbed more than four percent on the Bombay Stock Exchange on the back of the results, before retreating slightly to close up 3.8 percent at 512.45 rupees.
Sales in Ranbaxy's crucial North American market more than doubled to 20.93 billion rupees from a year earlier, helped by demand for its cholesterol-lowering drug.
Ranbaxy's financial year runs from January through December.
Earlier in the year, Ranbaxy reached agreement with the US Food and Drug Administration over a lengthy quality compliance dispute and said it would name an inspector to carry out quality checks on its plants.
It was also able to begin shipping drugs from one of its Indian plants to the United States last month, marking the end of a 2009 ban imposed by US regulators.
Ranbaxy, which has factories in eight countries, has grown by selling cheap copies of branded drugs that have gone off-patent, and through challenges to patents owned by Western companies.
Daiichi Sankyo bought the Indian firm in a move to diversify globally and break into the fast-growing generics market.
But it has faced an uphill battle to turn around Ranbaxy after US authorities alleged the company falsified data, failed to prevent contamination of medicines and kept poor records.