Salix Pharmaceuticals swung to a much wider-than-expected fourth-quarter loss with sales falling sharply, as a result of the company's decision to cease substantially all of its sales to wholesalers in an effort to accelerate the reduction of inventory. For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the net loss was $288 million, o4 $4.51 a share, compared with a profit of $40 million, or 58 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier. Excluding non-recurring items, the adjusted loss per share was $2.61, much wider than the FactSet consensus analyst loss estimate of 24 cents. Product revenue dropped to $13.5 million from $237.6 million, missing the FactSet consensus of $192.4 million. Based on prescription demand, the company, which agreed last month to be acquired by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International , believes product revenue would have been $360 million if it didn't halt sales. Salix said it would not provide a financial outlook because of the pending acquisition. The stock, which edged up 0.1% in after-hours trade, has soared 52% in the past three months, compared with a 2.5% gain in the S&P 500.
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