German chemicals and pharmaceuticals group Merck KGaA said on Thursday it was raising its sales forecasts for this year after posting solid figures for the third quarter. The firm said it expected annual sales of between 10.9 billion euros ($13.9 billion) and 11.0 billion euros in 2012 compared to a previous estimate of 10.7 billion euros. Underlying profit, as measured by earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA), is now expected to come in at between 2.90 billion euros and 2.95 billion euros, the firm said. Third-quarter turnover at the firm rose by 12.2 percent to 2.8 billion euros although net profits dipped by 17.2 percent to 185.5 million euros. \"Even in these tough economic times and while in the midst of our own business transformation, Merck is performing well operationally,\" said Karl-Ludwig Kley, the firm\'s chairman. In September, the group announced it was to cut one job out of every 10 in Germany over the next three years as part of a global cost-cutting drive.