Valeant misses Wall Street expectations and dials back future earnings forecasts sending the share price sharply south

Billy Bambrough
Follow Billy
Former Valeant interim chief executive Howard Schiller was hauled before US politicians to answer questions on drug price hikes (Source: Getty)

The worst isn't over for Valeant Pharmaceuticals.

The struggling company, which has recorded a near 90 per cent drop in its share price over the last year, has posted a first-quarter loss of $373.7m (£253m) in the first quarter.

Investors have been left reaching for the painkillers as the stock price slumps almost 20 per cent in the pre-market on revised earnings forecasts.

Valeant's share price hit a high of $263.70 in August of 2015 and fell as low as $25.27 in April of 2016 due to doubts that the company could recover from its hefty debt load and concerns over its accounting practises.

Valeant Valeant | mobile image

Valeant today dialled back expectations – now forecasting $6.60 to $7 a share for the full year, down sharply from its previous guidance for $8.50 to $9.50.

Read more: Pharma consolidation continues with two new massive deals

Revenue has been scrubbed to $9.9bn to $10.1bn for the year, down from $11bn to $11.2bn. As recently as March of this year Valeant was forecasting earnings of $13.75 a share and revenue as high as $12.7bn.

The Canadian drug maker fell short of Wall Street expectations over its first quarter with a loss of $1.08 per share. Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were $1.27 per share.

The average estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.42 per share.

Revenue performed better than expected however, with the company pulling in $2.37bn, up 9.3 per cent, on forecasts of $2.35bn.

Valeant is having to prove to investors it's still able to bring in earnings as it positions itself away from the big acquisitions and hefty drug-price hikes that made it the pharma giant it is.

Read more: Last year the former the Valeant CEO said he felt good about 2016

It was announced last month that Michael Pearson, the former Valeant chief executive that was ousted from the company earlier this year, will remain on as a consultant.

He will also pocket a $9m (£5m) severance payment.

Pearson, who since he was appointed CEO in 2008 steered Valeant through a 1,000 per cent share price increase and subsequent collapse, formally left the company in early May after clashing with investors and board members.