Shares in Germany’s Bayer soared to a six-year high as the Leverkusen-based firm posted five-fold increase in profits, boosted by the performance of products from recently-acquired Schering AG.

Net income for the first quarter leapt to 2.8 billion euros from 600 million euros for the same period last year, though this was helped by a one-time gain of 2.2 billion euros. This came from the divestments of firm’s diagnostics business to Siemens and its specialty chemicals unit HC Starck to private equity groups Advent International Corp and Carlyle Group last year, but was offset by a 220 million euro non-operating charge.

Group sales rose 23% to 8.3 billion euros, 3.6 billion euros of which came from Bayer HealthCare, and of that total Schering contributed 1.4 billion euros. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation for the division more than doubled to around 950 million euros.

Bayer did not give any information about the performance of particular products during the quarter, noting that full details will be given in its interim report on May 8. However, the firm did allow itself to proclaim that “in light of the successful start to 2007,” it “confirms the positive outlook for the full year".