India’s Ranbaxy has posted another set of stellar results, with European sales helping to push its first-quarter profit up 79%.

The Gurgaon-based firm said that net income rose to 1.29 billion rupees (around $29 million), while sales jumped 23% to 15.64 billion rupees. These climbs were due in no small part to Ranbaxy’s performance in Europe, where revenues soared 78% to $93 million.

Leading the charge in Europe was Romania, thanks to the contribution of Terapia which Ranbaxy acquired for $324 million in March 2006. Romanian sales were $37 million in the quarter and Terapia has won marketing authorisation for 20 new products to be launched there in the next few months. As for the rest of Europe, the UK, Germany and France had a combined turnover of $34 million (+7%) and there were strong gains in Spain and Poland.

Europe has now overtaken North America as Ranbaxy's top overseas market, and sales in the latter were up 3% to $91 million. However this figure is likely to grow considerably in the next few quarters as Ranbaxy has just has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to market its generic form of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s cholesterol-lowerer Pravachol (pravastatin) in 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg and 80 mg.

Importantly, the firm has been granted 180-day market exclusivity for the 80mg dose, and Ranbaxy also noted that it has also received FDA approval to sell zolpidem, a generic version of Sanofi-Aventis' insomnia drug Ambien which has annual sales in the USA of over $2 billion.

The firm has 88 Abbreviated New Drug Applications pending approval with the FDA and believes it has ‘first-to-file’ status on approximately 20 of them.