Teva Pharmaceutical Industries' third-quarter net profit and sales both rose 6 percent, as record sales of its flagship drug Copaxone and a low tax rate helped offset an increase in expenses. The Jerusalem-based company said Tuesday that in the three months ended September 30, net profit rose to $267.1m. from $251.5m., diluted earnings per share rose to 40 cents from 37 cents, and sales rose to $1.32b. from $1.25b. It also declared a quarterly dividend of 30 agorot per American Depositary Receipt. Analyst expectations for EPS ranged from 36 cents to 43 cents and for revenue of $1.24b. to $1.42b., as compiled by Thomson Financial Networks. Shares slipped 0.4% to NIS 179.50 on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange but were up 2.4% at $39.27 in midday trading on Nasdaq. Analysts generally welcomed the results. "Teva returned to tradition and slayed the EPS consensus [of 38 cents] by two cents a share," enthused Clal Finance Batucha analyst Yisca Erez. William Blair & Co. called the results solid and IBI said, "There are many 'nice parts' to Teva's results... What's important is the strong cash flow of $385m., which will lighten the purchase of Ivax." Teva, which is one of the world's largest manufacturers of generic drugs, agreed in July to buy its Florida-based rival for $7.4b. and expects the transaction to close late this year or early in 2006. Ivax said, on Tuesday, that third-quarter net profit jumped 25% to $55.4m., EPS rose to 20 cents from 17 cents, and revenue climbed 41% to $617.7m. Global sales of Teva's multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone jumped 27% to $307m., with the drug leading the market in total and new prescriptions, Teva said citing a survey from consulting company IMS. In addition, overall European pharmaceutical sales rose 24% to $342m., primarily due to increased sales of Copaxone and to sales of products that were not sold in the comparable quarter. Teva also has a big pipeline, with 145 product applications awaiting final approval by the US Food and Drug Administration. However, not everything in the earnings report was rosy. Operating profit slipped 1.7% as selling, general and administrative expenses rose 18%, primarily because of a profit-sharing agreement with Barr for hay fever and allergy drug Fexofenadine. Furthermore, North American pharmaceutical sales slipped 1.5% to $708m. due to lower sales of generic drugs in the US. Nine-month net profit rose to $767.4m. from $53m., diluted EPS rose to $1.14 from 8 cents and sales rose to $3.85b. from $3.48b.