Valeant shares sink anew on report it may restate earnings

Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals plunged further in after-hours trading on Monday after the Wall Street Journal reported that the drugmaker may restate earnings after an internal review.

Stock in pharmaceutical company has lost two-thirds of its value since last summer

Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals slumped for the second straight trading day following a harsh report from an analyst at Wells Fargo. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals plunged anew after hours on Monday after the Wall Street Journal reported that the drugmaker may restate earnings after an internal review. 

"Valeant ... likely needs to restate some of its previous financial results based on the findings of an internal investigation into its business," the Journal said on its website. 

In regular NYSE trading on Monday, Valeant shares were down $9.07 to $75.92 US on heavy volume of 28.6 million shares. They dropped another eight per cent after-hours on the WSJ report. 

It's been a terrible few days for Montreal-based Valeant. Its market value has fallen by more than $6 billion US since last Thursday.

On the TSX, shares of Valeant were down $12.84, or 11 per cent, to close at $104.16 on Monday. The shares had lost another $11.39 on Friday.

The two-day plunge followed a report Friday morning from Wells Fargo analyst David Maris, who initiated coverage on the company with an "underperform" rating.

"We believe the Valeant board and management have made decisions that may have put Valeant at significant business and reputational risk," Maris wrote.

His damning report outlines what he sees as a number of risks to Valeant's earnings. He also has questions about its liquidity. 

Other analysts aren't nearly as pessimistic about Valeant stock. The majority of analysts who cover the stock have a "buy" recommendation with target prices well above current levels.

But the Wells Fargo report was enough to send many investors fleeing.

Extreme volatility is nothing new to Valeant stockholders. On the TSX, Valeant shares have a 52-week high of over $347. That was reached last August. In July, it became the most valuable company on the Toronto Stock Exchange, surpassing RBC.

But it wasn't long before that shares started steadily plunging. They were worth less than $100 by November following a number of negative developments.

The launch of a new drug price probe by the U.S. Senate forced Valeant execs to defend large price hikes in some of its drugs. CEO Michael Pearson has promised minimal price increases on its products in 2016.

The stock price was also hit by allegations from a short-seller that the company's accounting practices don't add up. Valeant launched an internal review last fall to determine whether there was any wrongdoing in its relationship with U.S. mail order firm Philidor. It has since severed ties with Philidor. 

Valeant has until next Monday to report fourth-quarter results or seek an extension.

Valeant, worth $116 billion last July, is now worth about $40 billion.


With files from Reuters


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