German drug and chemical company Merck KGaA reported a 58 percent rise in quarterly operating profit on Wednesday, boosted partly by its acquisition of Swiss biotech firm Serono.

Operating profit rose to 277.5 million euros ($383 million) in the second quarter from 176.1 million euros a year earlier, driven by sales of multiple-sclerosis drug Rebif, cancer drug Erbitux and liquid crystals used in flat TVs.

The results were slightly ahead of a Reuters poll of 16 analysts that produced an average operating profit estimate of 273 million euros. The forecasts ranged from 245 million to 316 million euros.

Chief Executive Karl-Ludwig Kley said in a statement its businesses had performed well in the first half of the year and expected its continuing operations for the full year to have a high single-digit rise in sales and an increase of more than 20 percent for the operating result.

In April, Merck had expected a high single-digit organic growth rate in sales and a double-digit increase in its operating result this year, excluding the generics business.

The family-controlled company, which is also the world's biggest supplier of liquid cystals, acquired Rebif in last year's 10.2 billion euro purchase of Serono, which started contributing to earnings this year. Merck in May sold its generics drug business to U.S.-based Mylan Laboratories Inc. for 4.9 billion euros to help cut the debt burden amassed from the Serono acquisition and to focus on higher-margin branded drugs. The deal is expected to close in the second half of the year.