Valeant shares off another 8% Friday

Shares in Valeant were falling again on Friday as the embattled drugmaker faced new concerns it will be unable to pay off its debts as its once booming revenue sources slow to a trickle.
Montreal-based Valeant was briefly the most valuable company in Canada before being beset by a series of problems. (Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

Shares in Valeant lost another eight per cent on Friday as the embattled drugmaker faced new concerns it will be unable to pay off its debts as its once booming revenue sources slow to a trickle.

Shares in Montreal-based Valeant were changing hands below $36 on the TSX on Friday, off about eight per cent on the day. 

The stock has sold off precipitously in recent days, losing 50 per cent of its value on Monday after announcing it would not be able to file its restated earnings on time. Valeant started the week above $91 a share. Last summer, it was the most valuable company in Canada, worth $346 a share.

Since then the company has been engulfed in one calamity after the other, with a short-seller accusing the company's of massive fraud in its accounting at the same time that billing for generic drugs became a hot-button issue in the U.S.

Valeant has sold off some units, changed the way it books revenue and vowed to fix any remaining problems, but so far nothing has managed to stanch the bleeding.

All in all, the sell-off could be a sign of a company that investors are struggling to believe in.

"We have lost confidence in management's ability to understand its own business and to provide reliable guidance," analysts at Japanese investment bank Nomura said this week of the company.

Debt load

Part of the company's problem is a massive $30-billion debt load, much of which it accrued during a constant series of acquisitions. At the time, the acquisitions drove the stock price higher, but now that the company owes more than what it is worth, there are concerns over how Valeant can make its payments amid declining revenues.

The company has $970 million worth of debt due this year, but the real bubble starts in 2018 and beyond.

Under its loan agreements, Valeant has until March 30 to file audited financial reports. If it fails to do so, it then has 30 days before lenders can demand accelerated repayments.

Reuters reported this week that several of the company's lenders are demanding new repayment terms. That could make it even harder for the company to dig itself out of its hole.

Turnaround story?

But some money managers think the negativity surrounding the company is overdone, and there's room for an upside.

"At the price Valeant is now, we think there is quite a bit of value," said Benjamin Jang, a portfolio manager at Nicola Wealth Management. Jang adds that while he was never a fan of the company's business model of growing through acquisitions, the company could be worth more apart than it is together. 

"The companies that Valeant purchased are real companies and, if you do a sum of the parts taking a look at the value of all those companies, I think there is a chance for significant (stock) price appreciation once this cloud of negative news passes by."


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