Why Valeant Got Its First Big Analyst Upgrade of 2016

Print Email

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (NYSE: VRX) has been on the rise in the past month on increasingly positive news surrounding the company’s position. It seems like Joe Papa’s involvement as chairman and chief executive officer has really payed off, as well as, the addition of Bill Ackman to the board. In light of this recent “turnaround,” one key analyst actually now sees Valeant as a buy. Although some analysts have become less negative and upgraded to a more neutral view on the stock, Morgan Stanley’s is a true call to buy the stock.

Morgan Stanley upgraded the stock to an Overweight rating from Equal Weight and raised the price target to $42 from $33. Keep in mind this is one of the first actual ratings that instructs investors to buy Valeant shares in the coming months.

Overall, the brokerage firm is more constructive on the stock after company’s positive announcements, including reiteration of 2016 outlook and plans to sell assets to pay down debt. Valeant is offering to pay lenders higher interest rates in order to obtain an amendment to its debt agreement that would loosen one of its covenants. Morgan Stanley expects Valeant to successfully renegotiate its debt covenants on modest terms. That will allow the company to pay off about $5 billion in debt over the next year or so. This will also be helped by asset sales or divesting, which could help bring in billions of dollars in liquidity.

We have included how a couple of other analysts view Valeant to round out what is being said about the stock.

Scotiabank handed down a Sector Perform rating with a $34 price target, indicating Valeant was showing signs of stability and sustainability. The bank said that Valeant’s results took a backseat to its reiterated guidance that provided a sense of stability in the business, and management’s actions related to the debt situation provided a sense of longer-term sustainability of the business. Scotiabank continues to believe Valeant’s cash flows should be sufficient to meet its debt obligations but remains somewhat cautious on the stock until it sees evidence of longer-term operational improvements.

Canaccord Genuity issued a Hold rating and raised its price target to $31 from $28, earlier in August. The firm detailed in its report:

While second quarter challenges were as expected, we believe that management is making progress turning around the business. Valeant has identified assets it values at about $8 billion as possible divestitures, and also outlined a plan to pay down about $5 billion of debt over the next 18 months through FCF generation and non-core asset sales. Nonetheless, we believe that new CEO Joseph Papa must continue to build credibility during the early stages of his tenure, and believe investor confidence can only be fostered through execution and delivery of targets.

Shares of Valeant were trading up 10% at $29.31 on Wednesday, with a consensus analyst price target of $43.78 and a 52-week trading range of $18.55 to $249.53.