Valeant Pharmaceuticals Posts Strong Q3 Results

By Keith

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Even before a report from Citron Research sent shares ofValeant Pharmaceuticalsinto free fall, all eyes were on the controversial drugmaker Monday morning as it reported third quarter results. Investors were interested in financial numbers and what Valeant might have to say about a federal investigation into its drug pricing. Here are the highlights from Valeant's third-quarter announcement.

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By the numbersValeant reported revenue of $2.79 billion in the third quarter. This reflected an increase of 36% year over year. The figure also came in above consensus analysts' estimates of $2.77 billion.

GAAP earnings for the quarter were $49.5 million, or $0.14 per share. On a non-GAAP basis, Valeant posted earnings of $2.74 per share -- a 30% jump over the same quarter in 2014. That easily topped the consensus analysts' earnings estimate of $2.68 per share.

Operating cash flow on a GAAP basis for third quarter was $737 million, up 19% year over year. Valeant also reported adjusted operating cash flow of $865 million. That figure reflected a 12% increase versus the prior year. Cash flow on both a GAAP basis and adjusted basis would have been considerably higher excluding the impact of foreign exchange.

Behind the numbersSeveral factors accounted for Valeant's strong quarterly results. The company continues to experience double-digit organic sales growth from same-store sales, which include any businesses that Valeant has owned for at least one year. These results were paced by U.S. same-store organic sales growth of 22%.

Xifaxan led the way again in product sales. Third-quarter sales for the drug, which treats irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea, came in at $220 million -- a nice jump from the $148 million recorded in second quarter. Valeant also saw solid growth from several of its other leading products, including Jublia and Wellbutrin XL.

The company's earnings release understandably didn't say much about the new controversy over a federal investigation into Valeant's drug pricing and assistance to patients. However, executives did address these issues to some extent in the earnings conference call presentation.

Valeant disputed figures represented in a recent Deutsche Bank report that stated the drugmaker had raised wholesale prices by an average of 66% for drugs representing 81% of its portfolio. Valeant stated that the actual price increases averaged 36% with a net average realized increase of 24%. The company also maintained that these increases applied to drugs representing 54% of its portfolio.

More information was also provided regarding Valeant's recent response to a letter from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) about drug pricing and patient access forNitropress and Isuprel. Valeant noted that it was starting to reach out to hospitals "where the impact of a price change was significantly greater than average."

Company executives didn't respond to several questions from analysts during the earnings call to provide more detail. However, Valeant stated that it intends to cooperate with these investigations.

Looking aheadValeant increased its fourth-quarter revenue guidanceto a range of $3.25 billion-$3.45 billion from a range of $3.2 billion-$3.4 billion. The company also bumped up fourth-quarter adjusted earnings guidance to a range of $4.00-$4.20 per share from a range of $3.98-$4.18 per share.

For the full year, Valeant hiked revenue guidanceto a range of $11.0 billion-$11.2 billion from a range of $10.7 billion-$11.1 billion. Full-year adjusted earnings guidance increased to a range of $11.67-$11.87 per share from a range of $11.50-$11.80 per share.

Despite the solid second-quarter results and better outlook for the rest of 2015, though, Valeant's stock still dropped by 5% in early trading on Monday. This underscores how skittish investors are about the federal investigations into the company's drug pricing. Meanwhile, the stock was hammered hard by the aforementioned Citron Research report, despite Valeant's management defending against the accusations. On Wall Street, any question marks about the future can temporarily outweigh exclamation points about the most recent and upcoming quarters.

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Keith Speights has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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