Valeant Profit Tops Analysts’ Estimates as Drug Sales Surge

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Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., the Canadian drugmaker known for its serial acquisitions, reported first-quarter profit that topped analysts’ estimates and raised its forecast for the year.

Earnings excluding one-time items rose to $2.36 a share from $1.76 a year earlier. Analysts had forecast $2.34 on average, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue increased to $2.19 billion, the company said Thursday in a statement. Analysts had predicted $2.15 billion.

The drugmaker predicted earnings will be between $10.90 and $11.20 a share this year, with sales as high as $10.6 billion. In January, the company said it expected earnings in 2015 to be $10.10 to $10.40 a share, and sales of to be $9.2 billion to $9.3 billion.

Valeant, based in Laval, Quebec, is seeking to become one of the world’s biggest drug companies, mainly through a series of acquisitions. Last year, it failed in an attempt to acquire Allergan Inc., the maker of Botox, with the help of Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management LP. In March, Valeant beat out Endo International Plc in a bidding war to acquire Salix Pharmaceuticals Inc. for $11 billion.

Valeant now has to work through the accounting woes at Salix, which reported in January that it let months’ worth of unsold product build up with wholesalers and had to restate seven quarters worth of results.

Unique Situation

“Salix represents a unique situation since the mismanagement of wholesaler inventory levels forces Valeant to correct those in the near-term,” Barclays Plc analyst Douglas Tsao said Tuesday in a note to clients. Tsao said this would artificially suppress revenue by about $500 million in 2015.

First-quarter net income totaled $73.7 million, rebounding from a $22.6 million net loss a year earlier.

Chief Financial Officer Howard Schiller said Wednesday he’s leaving Valeant to pursue other business interests. He’ll stay with the company while it looks for a new CFO and will remain on the board and seek re-election in May. Chief Executive Officer Michael Pearson praised Schiller, 53, in a statement.

“Mr. Schiller and Mr. Pearson are the faces of Valeant, and now half of that team is gone,” Alex Arfaei, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets, said Wednesday in a note.

Valeant shares rose 4.2 percent in New York to close at a record $214.06. They’ve gained 60 percent in the past year, outpacing the 51 percent jump in the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index.

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