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Valeant shares dive as it cuts forecast

Valeant Image copyright Getty Images

Shares of pharmaceuticals company Valeant fell 51% on Tuesday after the company missed revenue expectations and cut its forward guidance.

The company said low sales were behind a $336.9m (£238m) fourth quarter loss.

It also lowered its forecast for first quarter revenue to between $2.3-2.4bn, from a range of $2.8bn to $3.1bn.

Tuesday's earnings report is preliminary and Valeant could face default if it fails to file the audited report by the end of the day.

If Valeant misses Tuesday's deadline bondholders could file a notice of default on the grounds the company has failed to meet reporting requirements.

If Valeant misses a second deadline on 29 April deadline to file its financial statement with US regulators, some of its bank creditors could also demand repayment.

Debt

In February, Valeant announced it would delay filing its annual report while its board looked into its accounting practices. The company also said it would resubmit financial statements for 2014 and 2015.

As of 30 September, the Canadian drug company had close to $30bn of long-term debt, mostly accrued from a string of drug acquisitions.

Valeant is also facing an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into its relationship with pharmacy Philidor, and an investigation by the US Congress into its drug pricing.

The embattled company has cut its ties with Philidor, which it was accused of using to fake sales to force up the price of its drugs.

"The challenges of the past few months are not yet behind us and our goal for 2016 is to better balance our priorities across all of our constituencies- physicians, patients, employees, payers, debt holders and shareholders," chief executive Michael Pearson said in a statement.

Pro-active role

In an attempt to improve matters Valeant has appointed three new directors to its board. One of the new appointees is from Pershing Square - one of Valeant's largest shareholders- which has been pushing for change.

On Tuesday, Pershing Square's chief executive Bill Ackman sent a letter to his investors that said the fund would "take a much more proactive role" in Valeant.

In the letter, Mr Ackman said he felt default was unlikely.

"While we believe that it is highly likely that the banks will provide a waiver, uncertainty about the potential for a default creates enormous investor fear," Mr Ackman wrote.

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