Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International closed virtually unchanged Wednesday, but investors of the embattled drugmaker could continue to face financial pain.
After fluctuating between gains and losses, the stock finished the day up 3 cents at $33.54, following Tuesday’s worst-ever plunge that erased more than half of Valeant’s financial value.
The overall 87% drop since the stock reached a high of $262.52 in early August means Valeant currently has a market value of roughly $11.4 billion, well below the Canada-based company’s $30.3 billion debt load. Valeant CEO J. Michael Pearson said during a Tuesday conference call with financial analysts that the firm will reduce its debt and consider selling non-core assets in an effort to steady the drugmaker’s finances and avert a newly-disclosed bond default risk.
Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Valeant’s rating further into junk bond territory, to B1 from Ba3, and said the rating remained under review for further reductions.
Valeant agreed to buy Sprout Pharmaceuticals in August for $1 billion, and predicted the North Carolina-based firm’s recently approved libido-boosting medication Addyi – the so-called female Viagra – would become a major seller.
Months after numerous media reports that showed U.S. doctors were writing fewer-than-expected Addyi prescriptions, Valeant officials told financial analysts the 2016 sales targets for the drug likely would not be met.
One of Valeant’s major shareholders, Pershing Square Holdings hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, sought to shore up investor confidence Tuesday by issuing an email that said he continues to believe “That the value of the underlying business franchises that comprise Valeant are worth multiples of the current market price.”
Ackman, who placed a Pershing executive on Valeant’s board of directors last week, said he would “Take a much more proactive role at the company to protect and maximize the value of our investment.”
Referring to Valeant’s overall financial prospects, Amsellem said: “It very well may be a slow-melting ice cube.”