Teva
Teva's factory in Hungary. Photo by Bloomberg
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Teva Pharmaceutical Industries reported on Thursday higher first-quarter earnings that beat analysts' estimates by one cent due in part to the launch of several generic products in the United States.

Teva, the world's largest generic drug-maker and Israel's biggest company, earned $1.22 per share excluding one-time items in the quarter, up from $1.12 a year earlier.

Revenue rose 2 percent to $5.0 billion despite a 4 percent drop in European revenue to $818 million. Results in central and eastern Europe were affected by the mild winter, Teva said.

Teva was forecast to earn $1.21 a share excluding items on revenue of $5.1 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company maintained its full year 2014 earnings and revenue forecast.

Global sales of its best-selling multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone, which accounts for about 20 percent of sales and 50 percent of profit, edged up 1 percent to $1.07 billion. The injectable drug faces competition from oral treatments as well as cheaper generics in the coming years.

To help it remain competitive, Teva launched a 40 mg version of Copaxone that has to be injected only three times a week instead of daily. As of April 18, this new version of Copaxone had a 10.5 percent U.S. market share in terms of total prescriptions. U.S. market share for the two Copaxone products was 33.5 percent.

"Our global generics business delivered increased profitability, and our U.S. generics revenues were up 17 percent year-over-year," said Erez Vigodman, Teva's new chief executive.

"During 2014, we will deliver significant savings as part of our cost reduction programme, accelerate the transformation of our operations network, strengthen our global leadership in generics and continue to increase confidence in Teva."

The company set a quarterly dividend of 1.21 shekels (34.7 cents) a share, unchanged from the fourth quarter.