(Adds analyst comment, updates shares)
By Ankur Banerjee
March 30 (Reuters) - Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc said on Wednesday it was asking its lenders for another month to file its annual report, seeking to reduce the risk of a default on its $30 billion debt if it misses the current April 29 deadline.
However, Valeant - whose U.S.-listed shares were down 6 percent in afternoon trading - said it still intended to meet the end-April deadline and was confident about its finances.
Valeant said last week that a board committee probing the company’s ties to specialty drug distributor Philidor had found accounting problems dating back to December 2014.
On Wednesday, the Canadian drugmaker said the committee had not found any additional items affecting its financial statements, but had not finished its review.
“The company is comfortable with its current liquidity position and cash flow generation for the rest of the year, and remains well positioned to meet its obligations,” Valeant said.
Valeant was originally due to file its annual report by March 15 but said in February it would not meet that deadline as a result of the review, which started in late 2015.
“Even if they are confident they are going to file by April 29, they still want to give themselves an extra month of runway,” Justin Forlenza, an analyst at credit research firm Covenant Review, told Reuters.
An extension to May 31 would also give creditors some additional comfort in the near-term, Mizuho Securities analyst Irina Koffler said in a client note.
The longer-term worry, she said, was that Valeant’s revenue base would erode over time while the company allocated all available cash to debt repayment.
A waiver would need approval from lenders holding more than 50 percent of Valeant’s loans in principal amount.
Valeant also said it was seeking to extend the deadline for filing its first quarter report to July 31 from June 24.
The Laval, Quebec-based company said an amendment to its credit agreement would restrict its ability to make certain acquisitions, pay dividends and make other payments until its financial statements were filed.
The company would also be required to apply substantially all of its net asset sale proceeds to prepay its term loans.
Valeant said in mid-March that it would talk to its lenders about a filing extension.
“Investors already have appeared to lose confidence in Valeant’s management team ... the announcement today adds to this loss of confidence definitely,” Zachary Bader, distressed debt analyst at Reorg Research said in an email.
Valeant, under Chief Executive Michael Pearson, was an investor darling for years as it went on an acquisition spree and delivered double-digit profit growth.
But through Tuesday’s close of $28.48, its shares had lost about 90 percent of their value since August when its aggressive acquisition strategy and practice of sharply raising drug prices come under public, political and regulatory scrutiny.
Valeant is also under investigation by the U.S. Congress and various U.S. government agencies over to its strategy and links to links to Philidor, which has since shut down.
The company said this month that Pearson would step down after a successor was found.
Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr