The acquisition of Serono has resulted in German drugmaker Merck KGaA posting an 8.3 million euro loss for the first quarter compared with net income of 180.8 million euros a year earlier.

However, operating profit rose 11.4% to 321 million euros and the Darmstadt-based group noted that the acquisition of the Swiss firm “has changed the face of Merck” with the pharmaceuticals business sector now accounting for more than 75% of total revenues. Serono contributed about 490 million euros to first-quarter sales plus 60 million euros in royalty income, lifting total revenues 37% to 2.17 billion euros.

Additionally, Merck noted that the Serono purchase was initially valued at 10.6 billion euros, but the firm noted that it has paid 10.2 billion euros for the purchase so far, reflecting a strong euro and the acquisition of some shares at lower-than-expected prices.

Back to sales and total pharmaceuticals revenues increased 61% to 1,63 billion euros, driven by the cancer drug Erbitux which jumped 48% to 110 million euros, while the multiple sclerosis treatment Rebif (interferon beta-1a) rose 3.5% to 283 million euros.

Merck made no comment on how the proposed sale of its generics division is progressing, limiting itself to noting that the unit’s revenues rose 3.7% to 453 million euros. The company concluded by reiterating its guidance for high-single-digit sales growth for the current year, while operating profit is forecast to increase by at least 10%.