Valeant Shares Slide After Company Forecasts Cut

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (NYSE:VRX) shares plummeted Tuesday as new Chief Executive Officer Joseph Papa reduced the company’s 2016 earnings and sales forecasts. The earnings forecast for this year has been reduced to $6.60 to $7 a share, excluding some items, from the $8.50 to $9.50 a share anticipated by Valeant back in March. Analysts were predicting earnings of $8.49.

The company’s shares dropped 16 percent to $24.20 at 10:20 a.m. in New York, after declining as much as 22 percent. It’s the biggest slump since March 15, the biggest one-day slump in Valeant’s history. Months of turmoil have wiped out about 90 percent of the stock’s value since reaching a high of $262.52 in early August, as of Monday’s close.

The drugmaker says that it expects to file its first-quarter statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this week. The company has been delaying financial results because of earnings restatements. In late April, the company averted a default by making a long-overdue 10-k filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission restating two years of profits.

Valeant, maker of toenail fungus cream Jublia and anti-depressant drug Wellbutrin, has faced intense scrutiny in recent months for its business and accounting practices. Previous CEO Michael Pearson, dismissed CFO Howard Schiller, and board member Bill Ackman of Pershing Square were all called in front of a congressional committee to explain the company’s price gouging ways. The investigations resulted in a massive drop in the company’s stock value.

Papa’s plan to stabilize the company and ensure its ability to meet debt payments did little to reassure investors. The company plans to sell some non-core assets and use excess cash to pay down debt. Valeant has also promised to end its opaque, price gouging ways. The turnaround will be a “multi-year process,” Papa said on the call with analysts Tuesday. Papa stands to make nearly $100 million as Valeant’s CEO if the company can recover its October 2015 share price.

The company’s long-term term debt, which ballooned under Pearson, rose to $31.1 billion as of March 31, from $30.3 billion three months earlier. Much of the debt was incurred through Valeant’s aggressive pace of acquisitions and an aggressive stock compensation plan that catapulted Pearson into the billionaire ranks. The company has repaid $730 million of its debt this year, and is aiming for total repayment of $1.7 billion. Valeant has $15 billion in debt due by 2020.