Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals (VRX) were obliterated Tuesday morning amid an arguably disastrous quarterly conference call in which executives of the beleaguered pharmaceutical company claimed it doesn't need to sell more assets to service its liquidity, despite slashing its guidance and hinting that 2017 figures would be even worse.
In other words, CEO Joseph Papa and CFO Paul Herendeen seemingly erased hopes among investors that Valeant's so-called turnaround plan would be would be done in a timely manner while adding to uncertainty around potential divestitures. After asking investors to look beyond its past troubles, analysts hounded the executives with questions around assets sales, its ability to reduce debt and the reasons behind deteriorating fourth-quarter expectations, among other things.
Shares of the Canadian pharmaceutical company tumbled about 25.5% to $14.25 a piece during Tuesday morning's trading session.
"This is a turnaround, and as with many turnarounds, turnarounds can take much longer than expected," Herendeen, who joined Valeant in August from his post at animal health giant Zoetis (ZTS) only about two months ago, told investors.
Importantly, the Laval, Canada-based drugmaker didn't only cut its 2016 outlook to a level that the new CFO said he "feels good about the quality of."
Herendeen also admitted on the conference call that the company's revenues and Ebitda are anticipated to fall below 2016 levels in 2017—a statement that prompted Papa to step in to say that the company is "not trying to give '17 guidance."
And so while specific figures for 2017 weren't provided, Valeant did trim its full-year 2016 revenue guidance to between $9.55 billion and $9.65 billion, as opposed to $9.9 billion to $10.1 billion. It cut its adjusted Ebitda guidance to $4.25 billion to $4.80 billion, from a previous range of $4.80 billion to $4.95 billion.
When pressed about divestiture plans, Herendeen reiterated that there is a pathway for the company to service its liquidity and refinance its debt even without asset sales, noting that the company expects to remain within compliance of its two financial covenants regardless. The company continues to sit on roughly $30 billion in debt, having paid down about $450 million since the end of its second quarter.
"Our preference is to keep the businesses that we've identified as core, but not at all costs," the CFO said, acknowledging that it's Valeant's fiduciary duty to evaluate these offers.
Papa added on the call that Valeant "did receive a number of inbound requests to acquire assets with very significant numbers," claiming, that "it's a positive statement of the company that we have great assets that people are very interested in owning."
The comments that Valeant "doesn't need to sell assets" to service debt come after the debt-laden drugmaker confirmed reports last week that it is in talks to sell its Salix gastroenterology business. Dow Jones first reported the company could fetch about $10 billion via a sale to Japanese drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical or another suitor.
Valeant didn't provide any further color relating to the potential asset sale of Salix on the call.
Meanwhile, financial media reports have also pinned other assets of Valeant's as possible divestiture candidates, including the company's iNova business, which sponsors KKR, Carlyle Group and Bain are reportedly bidding for.
The new CFO asked that investors to move on from what he described as the company's "legacy issues" such as negative press coverage that the company is working to addressed.
"We can't change the past," Herendeen said. "We are a new team, and we need to earn your trust."
Valeant shares have lost more than 85% of its value so far this year and nearly 33% over the last three months.
The embattled drug company has seen its valuation suffer and has gained significant public scrutiny in connection with allegations relating to its relationship with mail-order pharmacy Philidor Rx Services and Philidor customer R&O Pharmacy, as well as the company's legal but questionable accounting gamesmanship. Valeant in March pinned the blame on its former CFO and former controller, Howard Schiller, for its misstatements of earnings.
Papa joined the troubled drugmaker after resigning from his post at Perrigo (PRGO) in May.
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