Valeant explodes after boosting guidance

Shares of Valeant Pharmaceuticals surged 15% to $US11.21 after the company raised 2017 earnings guidance.

The embattled drugmaker raised its full-year adjusted EBITDA forecast to $US3.6 billion to $US3.75 billion, up from the $US3.55 billion to $US3.7 billion range the company provided in February. In addition, Valeant’s first-quarter adjusted EBITDA of $US861 million exceeded the consensus forecast of $US854.9 million.

The company also reduced debt by $US1.3 billion in the first quarter, and executed a debt refinancing. As of year-end 2016, Valeant had accumulated $US30 billion in total debt.

“Our divestiture efforts and cash flow generation have led to a $US3.6 billion reduction in total debt to date, since the end of the first quarter of 2016,” chairman and CEO Joseph C. Papa said in a statement. “We met our

internal expectations, and we are continuing to make progress on our key initiatives.”

The stock increase is welcome news for investors who have seen Valeant’s share price plunge 96% since reaching a record high in August 2015. The company has come under fire in the last couple years over controversial drug price hikes and the use of a specialty pharmacy for distribution.

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