March 7, 2016 / 1:57 PM / in 2 years

UPDATE 2-Valeant sets earnings date, shares jump on hope for positive news

(Adds details, updates shares)

March 7 (Reuters) - Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc , the subject of intense scrutiny over its business practices and pricing policies, said it would release preliminary quarterly results and guidance on March 15, raising hopes the company will serve up some positive news after months of uncertainty.

Valeant’s stock - which had plunged 24 percent since the company said last week that it would delay its results, withdrew 2016 guidance and was the target of an SEC probe - rose as much as 8.5 percent in morning trading on Monday.

The stock has shed about 77 percent of its value since August, when it hit a record high of $263.81.

The Laval, Quebec-based company had originally been scheduled to release its fourth-quarter results on Feb. 29.

“This stock has been so volatile ... it is possible the company’s announcement it will report Q4 earnings and update guidance on the 15th has some investors more optimistic that some recent fears about accounting restatements and withdrawn guidance won’t be as bad as perceived,” Morningstar analyst Michael Waterhouse said in an email to Reuters.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that a probe by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was focused on the drugmaker’s relationship with Philidor RX Services, a specialty drug distributor that came under fire for its aggressive tactics to increase insurer reimbursements.

Valeant has since cut ties with Philador and reached a deal to distribute its drugs through Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc .

The company said the delay in releasing the results was related to the return of Chief Executive Michael Pearson two months after he was hospitalized for pneumonia.

“Now that I have returned, I have been working diligently to review the business so that I can share our latest performance and outlook with shareholders,” Pearson said in a statement on Monday.

Valeant said it would hold a conference call after releasing its results.

The company said this month it would restate results for 2014 and 2015 after identifying some sales to Philidor that should have been recognized when products were dispensed to patients, not when they were delivered to the distributor.

Valeant’s Toronto-listed shares were up 8 percent at C$88.15 at midday, while its U.S.-listed shares trading at $66.43.

Reporting by Ankur Banerjee and Natalie Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr

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