By Ashutosh Pandey and Rod Nickel
Feb 27 Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc
sees close to 50 opportunities for mergers or
acquisitions, its chief executive said on Thursday, as it aims
to become one of the world's five biggest pharmaceutical
The company, Canada's largest listed drugmaker and maker of
antidepressant drug Wellbutrin and over-the-counter remedy
Cold-FX, swung to a higher-than-expected fourth-quarter profit
driven by the acquisition of contact lens maker Bausch & Lomb
Shares rose 2 percent and 1.5 percent in Toronto and New
York respectively in morning trading, touching all-time highs
before paring gains. The Toronto-listed stock is up 33 percent
so far in 2014.
Valeant, which aims to become one of the world's top five
pharmaceutical companies by market capitalization by 2016, has
grown rapidly through acquisitions amid a consolidation wave in
the specialty pharmaceutical sector.
Chief executive officer Michael Pearson said the company is
in multiple deal discussions, as it typically is, and has no set
plan for how it will triple its market cap to $150 billion.
"In terms of the number of opportunities out there, it's not
five, 10 or 15, it's probably closer to 50," Pearson said on a
conference call with analysts. Some of the opportunities are
with privately held companies, others are based outside the
United States and there are also pieces of larger companies that
interest Valeant, he said.
"A lot of this is very opportunistic. A lot of it depends on
Pearson said Valeant was not interested in Forest
Laboratories Inc, which generic drugmaker Actavis Plc
said on Feb. 18 it would buy for about $25 billion in
cash and stock.
Valeant is likely this year to pull off an acquisition
similar in size to the $8.7 billion Bausch & Lomb purchase,
Pearson said, and is also looking for smaller deals in China,
Russia, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Latin America.
Pearson seemed to be keeping all of his options open, said
Stifel Nicolaus analyst Annabel Samimy.
"To me, it seems right now he's got a lot of bolt-on
opportunities that he's looking at" in preferred consumer-pay
areas of opthalmology and aesthetics, or even dental and animal
health, she said.
"He's trying to get people to think bigger and beyond what
their myopic ideas are about who he can potentially buy."
Merck & Co Inc and Swiss drugmaker Novartis
have both signaled in recent months they are
considering options for their animal health businesses.
Valeant's net income attributable to the company was $123.8
million, or 36 cents per share, for the fourth quarter ended
Dec. 31. The company reported a loss of $89.1
million, or 29 cents per share, a year earlier.
Cash earnings, or profit adjusted for one-time items,
were$731.5 million, or $2.15 per share.
Revenue more than doubled to $2.06 billion.
Analysts had expected cash earnings of $2.06 per share on
revenue of $2.06 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company reaffirmed its 2014 guidance of cash earnings
per share ranging from $8.25 to $8.75 and revenue of $8.2
billion to $8.6 billion. It expects to raise guidance once its
$475 million acquisition of PreCision Dermatology has closed.