German pharmaceuticals specialist Schering said Monday that net profit beat expectations by rising 11 percent in the first three months of the current year, thanks to both improved sales and efficiency-boosting measures. Schering said in a statement it booked bottom-line profit of 144 million euros ($187 million) in the period from January to March, 11 percent more than in the year-earlier period. Analysts had been forecasting net profit of around 141 million euros. Operating profit grew by seven percent to 230 million euros on a four-percent rise in sales to 1.211 billion euros. "The first quarter provides a good starting point for a successful year this year," said chairman Hubertus Erlen. "We aim to increase our profitability again this year via healthy sales and further efficiency-boosting measures." Schering said that sales of its oral contraceptive pill Yasmin shot up 43 percent in currency-adjusted terms to 127 million euros in the January-March, making Yasmin the best-selling oral contraceptive in the world. Sales of the other key drug, multiple sclerosis treatment Betaferon, were up a currency-adjusted four percent to 181 million euros. Schering has cut close to 1,000 jobs worldwide and the workforce now numbers 25,300.