May 19, 2015 / 5:08 PM / in 3 years

Valeant CEO expects sharp rise in Asia revenue by 2020

MONTREAL, May 19 (Reuters) - Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc’s exposure to Asia’s growing middle class could help lead to the quintupling of sales in that market to around $5 billion by 2020, Chief Executive Michael Pearson said on Tuesday.

Montreal-based Valeant is Canada’s largest pharmaceutical company, with top-selling products including heart treatment Isuprel and anti-depressant Wellbutrin. It has been a serial acquirer, with deals lifting its revenue to more than $8 billion in 2014.

Asia, which is expected to generate about $1 billion in sales this year, “has the best growth prospects of any region in the world and it’s led by China,” Pearson told reporters following the company’s annual general meeting at its Laval, Quebec headquarters.

“What we expect from all our units is to grow 10 percent a year,” Pearson said. “I would expect Asia to grow faster. And then we should be making acquisitions. Five years from now, I don’t know, maybe it should be $5 billion.”

Pearson declined to discuss future acquisition targets. Valeant, which recently acquired Salix Pharmaceuticals Ltd, lost a high profile bid to buy Botox maker Allergan Inc last year.

Valeant shares rose 2.7 percent to C$277.24 in early afternoon trading in Toronto. Its Toronto-listed shares have doubled in the past year, sharply outperforming the S&P/TSX Composite index.

Even so, Pearson called Valeant’s stock “undervalued.” (Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Andrew Hay)

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