German drug and chemical maker Merck KGaA is reporting a surge in first-quarter net earnings as revenues were boosted by its acquisition of Millipore Corp. and demand for liquid crystals used in flat-screen televisions.
Merck said Thursday that it earned euro344.2 million ($505 million) in the January-March quarter. That was a 78 percent increase over its net profit of euro191.4 million a year earlier.
Revenues rose 22 percent to euro2.56 billion from euro2.1 billion.
Merck, based in Darmstadt, said its acquisition last year of U.S. biotechnology equipment supplier Millipore made a major contribution. It said its liquid crystals business posted "robust growth."
Merck maintained its full-year forecast, made in February, for growth of between 35 and 45 percent in its operating earnings.