Watson Pharmaceuticals, which is in the process of acquiring generics firm Actavis for 4.25 billion euros, has posted strong earnings and revenue growth for the first quarter.

Net income was up 22% to $54.8 million, while revenues leapt 74% to $1.5 billion. The rises were driven by sales of authorised generics of Pfizer's  cholesterol drug Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Johnson & Johnson's attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder drug Concerta (methylphenidate), plus the launch in the first quarter of a copycat version of Sanofi's antithrombotic Lovenox (enoxaparin).

The figures were also boosted by strong growth of its international revenues (up 58% to $171.7 million) as a result of the acquisition of Specifar Pharmaceuticals in May 2011 and Australia's Ascent Pharmahealth in January 2012. Aales at Watson's branded unit increased 13% to $109.6 million, primarily driven by Rapaflo (silodosin) for benign prostatic hyperplasia and Crinone, a progesterone vaginal gel for use in the treatment of infertile women.

Chief executive Paul Bisaro noted that in generics, more than 60 new products were launched and 28 applications were filed. He said that in addition to the acquisition of Actavis, "we will continue to look for strategic opportunities to propel global brands and biologics growth".