Bayer said it was looking for opportunities to expand its in animal health unit, even after it agreed to buy Merck & Co's non-prescription drugs business for $14.2 billion.

"We have a good animal health business and we would like to get bigger and stronger," Chief Executive Marijn Dekkers told analysts in a conference call on Tuesday.

"There are things happening in the animal health market that we are closely observing."

Novartis last month sold its animal health unit to Eli Lilly for $5.4 billion. Sources have said that Bayer had been among the suitors for the unit.

(Reporting by Ludwig Burger)