BASEL, Switzerland ( TheStreet) -- Novartis ( NVS), the Swiss drugmaker, said first-quarter earnings fell 4% because of additional financing costs related to the acquisition of the rest of eye care company Alcon ( ACL).

Novartis earned $2.82 billion in the first quarter, down from $2.95 billion a year earlier.

Analysts were expecting profits of $2.6 billion in the first quarter.

Novartis said sales rose 16% to $14.03 billion, or 14% in constant currencies. The company said sales benefited by 2% as the dollar weakened against most currencies.

Pharmaceuticals sales rose 7% in the quarter to $7.8 billion.

Novartis completed the acquisition of Alcon on April 8. Alcon contributed $1.9 billion toward first-quarter sales.

Novartis said it expects double-digit sales growth for the full year.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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