Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Solid outlook from Valeant despite losses

Published:Wednesday | August 10, 2016 | 8:15 AM

Drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals, a fast-growing Wall Street darling until its price-hiking business strategy made it a symbol of pharmaceutical company greed, said it's undergoing a restructuring as its new CEO, Joseph Papa, attempts to turn it around and repair its tattered reputation.

The company has come under a harsh spotlight for repeatedly buying older medicines with limited competition and then jacking their prices up threefold or more, with no changes or improvements to the drugs. The Canadian company's spate of acquisitions and soaring revenue propelled its stock through the roof, while running up some US$30 billion in debt.

As soaring drug prices became a hot political issue, Valeant has been hit with three ongoing federal probes into its accounting and business practices and criticism from presidential candidates, forcing it to renounce its price-hiking strategy and push out Michael Pearson, the CEO behind that strategy.

Meanwhile, insurers and other payers trying to rein in their costs for medicines successfully pressed for bigger drug discounts and rebates, which slashed Valeant's revenue from sales in developed countries by 14 per cent in the second quarter.

As a result, Valeant on Tuesday reported a wider loss and an 11 per cent dip in total revenue during the quarter. Still, its shares jumped after the beleaguered company stuck by its financial forecast for the year and said it would unveil a new strategy.

Valeant's losses widened to US$302.3 million, or 88 cents per share, from US$53 million, or 15 cents per share, a year prior. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, came to US$1.40 per share.

Revenue tumbled to US$2.42 billion in the period.

Both results fell short of Wall Street expectations. Analysts had expected per-share earnings of US$1.61, and revenue of US$2.59 billion, according to a survey by Zacks Investment Research.