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Healthcare

UPDATE 2-Watson Pharma profit tops Wall Street estimates

* Q1 EPS ex-items $0.81 vs $0.74 Wall St view

* Sees FY EPS $3.25-$3.45 (Adds details from results)

NEW YORK, May 10 (Reuters) - Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc WPI.N posted a higher-than-expected first-quarter profit on Monday, helped by sales of its generic heart drugs and international sales.

Watson, one of the largest U.S. generic drugmakers, also raised its full-year profit forecast.

Quarterly net income rose to $69.8 million, or 57 cents per share, from $49.1 million, or 43 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding special items, earnings of 81 cents per share were 7 cents above the analysts’ average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue jumped 28 percent to $856.5 million. Analysts looked for $841.1 million.

Sales were helped by Watson’s acquisition of Arrow Group, which was completed late last year and allowed Watson to expand substantially outside the United States.

Global generic revenue jumped 35 percent to $543.8 million. Aside from the new international sales, the company also benefited from higher sales of extended-release products, including the heart drug metoprolol.

Greater efficiencies in the generics business also helped boost adjusted profit margins, Watson said.

Watson projected full-year earnings in a range of $3.25 to $3.45 per share, compared with $3.05-$3.30 previously. (Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, Dave Zimmerman)

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