Croatian drugmaker Pliva posted a net profit of $67 million in the first nine months of 2006, reversing a loss of $34 million a year ago, although a decline in total revenues took some of the shine off the results for new owner Barr Laboratories of the USA.

Revenues fell 12% to $798 million year-to-date, and continued to be affected by the loss of patent protection on azithromycin, a big-selling antibiotic sold as Zithromax by Pfizer, last year. Pliva said it lost $126 million in royalty revenues from that product in the period.

But there was positive news in the financial figures, particularly a 16% increase in generic drug sales to $667 million helped by strong gains in the USA, Poland, Germany, the UK and Spain.

Pliva has been in the process of restructuring its business by hiving off its proprietary drugs activities and focusing on generic medicines, and the performance of that unit in the third quarter was even better, with sales advancing 21% to $224 million. But total sales fell 8% in the same period, mainly because of a 70% drop in pharmaceutical chemicals sales

A 49% hike in US sales offset a difficult operating environment in Pliva’s domestic market, which was pegged back by government-mandated price cuts and a decline in orders resulting fro the country’s new drug pricing model, which is due to be implemented shortly.

Barr bought Pliva for $2.5 billion last month, after a takeover tussle with Icelandic generics house Actavis.