Toronto-Dominion, Manulife Added Valeant Stakes in Third Quarter

  • Valeant shares have slumped more than 70% from August high
  • Bank of Montreal, Great-West among biggest Valeant sellers

Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canada’s largest lender, Manulife Financial Corp. and AGF Management Ltd. added the most shares among Canadian firms in the third quarter of embattled drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., according to U.S. regulatory filings.

Toronto-Dominion purchased 986,027 shares during the quarter ended Sept. 30, boosting its position to 5.3 million shares. Manulife, the nation’s largest life insurance company, increased its stake by 890,485 shares to about 1.5 million shares, while asset manager AGF added 318,572 shares, the filings show. Valeant shares are down 59 percent in Canada since Sept. 30.

Erik Hertzberg

Meanwhile Bank of Montreal, the fourth-largest lender in Canada, sold 630,952 shares of Valeant in the same period, reducing its position to 6.4 million shares. Life insurer Great-West Lifeco Inc. divested 457,441 shares in the quarter, lowering its shares held to 1.2 million, while Bank of Nova Scotia sold 295,521 shares, the data show.

It is not clear whether any of the firms still hold positions in Valeant. The stock retreated 3.8 percent to $72.64 at 1:09 p.m. in New York, near a May 2013 low. Some units of companies listed may have taken different positions in the stock.

Messages left with Ana Aujla, a spokeswoman at Toronto-Dominion and Brian Carmichael at Manulife weren’t immediately returned. Amanda Robinson, a spokeswoman at Bank of Montreal, Marlene Klassen at Great-West and Debra Chan with Scotiabank couldn’t be immediately reached. A Great-West representative said the company doesn’t comment on individual investments.

Valeant, briefly the largest stock in Canada by market capitalization this year, has plunged more than 70 percent from an Aug. 5 high amid scrutiny of its pricing practices, including its relationship with mail-order pharmacy Philidor RX Services. Four people who worked at Valeant have been asked by Democrats to come to Washington and answer questions about the company’s dealings with Philidor.

The relationship between Valeant and Philidor first came to light after short-seller Citron Research’s Andrew Left raised questions about Philidor altering doctors’ prescriptions to wring more reimbursements from U.S. health insurers.

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