Why Valeant Pharmaceuticals Is Tumbling Today

By Todd CampbellMarketsFool.com

What happened

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After the company reported fourth-quarter and full-year financial results, shares in Valeant Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: VRX) fell by 12.9% at 2:15 p.m. EST on Tuesday.

So what

Valeant Pharmaceuticals investors have been dealt a seemingly endless stream of disappointments since revelations emerged of improper marketing and pricing strategies in 2015.

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Since 2015, the company was forced to shutter its distribution partner Philidor, its longtime CEO was shown the exit, and last-minute negotiations with creditors cast doubt on the company's future.

Although new management has been put in place to divest non-core assets, pay down debt, and rekindle growth, the company's financial results last quarter indicate that there's still a lot of work to be done before investors can be rewarded with growth again.

In the quarter, the company's sales fell 12.9% year over year to $2.4 billion and its net loss was $515 million. Sales fell in each of its business segments. Bausch & Lomb sales declined 0.9% because of currency headwinds. Branded Rx and U.S. diversified products sales were down 17.3% and 29.9% compared to last year, respectively, because payers continue to shift to lower-cost alternatives.

Overall, the company reported a full-year loss of $6.94 per share in 2016.

Now what

Management is guiding for sales to fall again this year. Revenue should be between $8.9 billion and $9.1 billion. The company is no longer going to provide guidance for non-GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) earnings per share, but it is predicting non-GAAP EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) of between $3.55 billion and $3.70 billion.

It wasn't all bad news: Valeant is making some headway. It recently sold some skincare brands to L'Oreal for $1.3 billion, and it sold the prostate cancer drug Provenge for $820 million; those deals give it some wiggle room. It also recently announced a big hiring plan for salespeople that it hopes will spark revenue. And it reduced its debt by more than $500 million in 2016.

Nevertheless, Valeant's performance last year and tepid guidance for this year indicate that investors still face some big risks. For that reason, it might be best to focus on other investment ideas right now.

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Todd Campbell has no position in any stocks mentioned. His clients may have positions in the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Valeant Pharmaceuticals. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.