The German chemicals and pharmaceutical group Bayer posted a third quarter net profit that was almost four times bigger than a year earlier owing to strong pharmaceutical results and a one-off tax boost.

Bayer's net profit shot up to €1.175 billion, with a €900m shot in the arm from reforms to the German business tax code that took effect this year. Net profit in the third quarter of 2006 was €320m for the maker of Aspirin.

Other third quarter results gained this year as well, with group sales up by 4.5% at €7.793 billion and operating profit before exceptional items gaining 6.9% to €1.559 billion.

Operating profit at Bayer's Health Care division rose to €644m from €498m a year earlier, a jump of over 29%. The unit continued to benefit from Bayer's acquisition in July 2006 of the German drug group Schering, with sales rising by 5.7% to €3.680 billion.

Bayer's results were generally in line with market expectations and allowed the group to raise its full-year outlook slightly.

It made no mention of yesterday's announcement that it had pulled the anti-bleeding treatment Trasylol from markets worldwide amid concerns raised by a Canadian study of the drug. The news came six years after Bayer was slammed by problems with the anti-cholesterol drug Lipobay/Baycol.