After slashing its 2016 guidance about a week ago, Valeant (VRX) shareholders were probably looking for more clarity than provided by the embattled drugmaker's CEO Joe Papa at the company's relatively short annual meeting on Tuesday.
The stock traded flat in morning trading following the June 14 annual meeting in Laval, Quebec, however shares retreated about 1.6% to $23.39 midday. The stock has lost more than 75% of its value so far this year, as the Canadian pharmaceutical company has faced public scrutiny and pressure amid Congressional and SEC investigations into accounting practices tied to its former alliance with mail-order pharmacy Philidor.
In the Q&A session that followed Papa's arguably generic company presentation and shareholder votes on three proposals Tuesday, one unnamed longtime shareholder essentially called the new CEO out for his lack of discussion or explanation about what has gone wrong at Valeant over the last several months.
Papa responded that he had tried to point out that there are some distractions at Valeant in the company presentation, but that he feels the best thing to do is focus on the future.
When another investor asked Papa how much goodwill was on Valeant's balance sheet and about the shares he personally has purchased in the company, the CEO acknowledged the 202,000 shares, or about $5 million worth of shares purchased on Friday, but didn't immediately know where goodwill stood. After being informed moments after, Papa revealed that goodwill totaled about $18.5 billion.
The stabilization plan unveiled by the chief executive on Tuesday focused on three objectives--how to drive engagement, reallocate strategic resources and execute priorities.
To drive engagement, that Valeant will "re-recruit" existing Valeant employees, add new outside talent and invest in relationships with patients, prescribers, payors and investors, Papa said. In reallocating strategic resources, Valeant aims to fix its dermatology business, which has faced challenges relating to profitability, accelerate growth within its Salix gastrointestinal drugs, and focus R&D on growth within its core businesses of gastrointestinal, dermatology, ophthalmology and eye care and consumer business. Lastly, Valeant will work to improve patient access and address pricing issues, execute on noncore asset sales, pay down debt and cooperate with the government on any pending issues.
As previously stated publicly, Papa reiterated that the company will work to repay about $1.7 billion of its $31 billion in debt this year, and hopes to to pay down more if it can find buyers for noncore assets.
Valeant plans to hang onto its core businesses, with its about $3.5 billion consumer-oriented business consisting primarily of Bausch+Lomb assets.
In what could be the first asset sale, Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Valeant is working with Morgan Stanley to explore the sale of its dermatology unites Obagi Medical Products and Solta Medical, for which it could garner up to $500 million.
Among other things, Papa said he sees great opportunity within its Xifaxan therapy for patients suffering from hepatic encephalopathy and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), which he argued is the only go-to product for that condition.
In other matters of business at the annual meeting, the 11-person slate of directors noted in the company's proxy statement were elected; approval of the company's executive compensation was granted; and PricewaterhouseCoopers was appointed to serve as the company's auditor and public accountant.