On Wednesday, shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals Intl. Inc. (VRX) tumbled 13%, or $2.40 per share, and ended the day at $16.11. It was Valeant's lowest close since late-November.
The stock is down another 6.89% to $15.26 on Thursday as investors continue to react to the company's fourth-quarter earnings results released Wednesday.
While earnings and revenue results came in ahead of expectations, sales slipped 13% year over year. Guidance also came in light. However, management said it's looking to pivot from growth by acquisition to growth by R&D. One could argue that this had to happen, though, given Valeant's precarious debt load.
The company reduced its debt by $519 million in the quarter. While management has cut Valeant's debt down by $6.7 billion over the past two years, it still carries almost $30 billion in commitments. Worth noting is that after the recent pullback, Valeant has a market cap of just $5.7 billion.
So there's good reason for investors to remain skeptical. One of those skeptics? Piper Jaffray analyst David Amsellem.
Because of continued pressure on multiple segments, losing several exclusivity tags on certain drugs as well may make for a bottoming opportunity in 2018 EBITDA results. While the analyst doesn't have much concern over the company's 2018 plans, Amsellem says management has an "overly rosy" long-term view of Valeant's business.
Despite the potential trough in EBITDA, the company has a lot of debt that matures in 2020, Amsellem points out. Based on his less-than-optimistic outlook, Amsellem cut his price target to $10 from $12 and reiterated his underweight rating. From the prior close, his target implies almost 40% downside.
Wells Fargo analyst David Maris wasn't optimistic either. He maintained his underperform rating, arguing that he doesn't see the turnaround or stabilization in the business like management pointed to in its presentation.
But Wall Street isn't totally bearish. Jefferies analyst David Steinberg kept his buy rating and gave a slight bump in his price target to $19 from $18 following the company's results. While 2018 could be a down year, management believes 2019 will show accelerating growth, he notes.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author had no positions in the stocks mentioned.