India's largest pharmaceutical company Ranbaxy Laboratories booked a 68% plunge in profit for the first quarter, though the fall was not as much as analysts expected.

The company posted profit of 3 billion rupees ($67 million) for the period ended March 31, coming in above the 1.5 billion rupees ($40 million) forecast by a Reuters poll of analysts.

The slide in profit was expected as the year-ago period benefited from US sales of a generic drug with six months' exclusivity.

Ranbaxy generated net consolidated sales of $474 million, marking a 13% drop from the $541 million in Q1 2010.

Emerging markets contributed $237 million, up 12%, while developed markets slipped 30% to $212 million. Turnover stemming from Europe grew 10% to $74 million, while the Asia Pacific region enjoyed growth of 17% to $17 million.

“We have started the year on a positive note and I am pleased with the sustained performance of key geographies as they continued to deliver superior sales," said Arun Sawhney, the firm's managing director, commenting on the results.

However, the company failed to shed any further light on its current issues with the US Department of Justice, which claims that a facility owned by the company “falsified data and test results in approved and pending drug applications” and consequently suspended reviews of any products whose file contains data from the site.