* Valeant sees Q2 performance softer than Q1
* Drugmaker sees fiscal 2012 at top end of range
* Small, private-company acquisition preferred
* Shares drop more than 5 pct on Toronto Stock Exchange
By Claire Sibonney
June 21 (Reuters) - Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc said on Thursday it expected results for the second quarter to be weaker than those reported for its first, sending shares of Canada’s biggest publicly traded drugmaker down more than 5 perc ent.
“The second quarter is weaker than the first. We saw that in 2011, we saw that in our budget, we also spot-checked other businesses that have been in the portfolio ... and it’s been pretty consistent,” Valeant’s chief financial officer, Howard Schiller, said at an investor conference in Florham Park, New Jersey.
Morningtar analyst David Krempa said the second-quarter forecast was likely dragging the stock price down even though he thought Valeant’s update was generally positive.
“Over time they’ve been growing earnings so consistently that it’s not easy to tell exactly how much seasonality is in the business and maybe that’s why people are a little more surprised,” said Krempa, based in Chicago.
On a net basis, the company reported a loss of $12.9 million, or 4 cents a share, for the first quarter. On an adjusted cash basis, earnings came in at $360.3 million, or $1.14. Excluding a divestiture, adjusted income was $311.8 million, or 99 cents.
Analysts, on average, expect the company to earn $1.11 a share in the second quarter versus $1.14 in the first quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Still, Valeant anticipates its results for the full year to be at the top end of its previous forecast range, it said in a statement earlier on Thursday.
Valeant, which has been on a buying spree since Michael Pearson became the CEO four years ago, last month raised its 2012 cash earnings forecast by 50 cents a share to a range of $4.45 to $4.70. It expects revenue of $3.4 billion to $3.6 billion.
“We do expect that the second half of the year, just like last year and just like the year before, will be significantly stronger than in the first half of the year,” Pearson said at the conference.
In considering future acquisitions, Pearson said Valeant would prefer smaller, private-company deals in different international regions where it can take advantage of lower prices and faster transactions.
The drugmaker has been increasing revenue, mostly through acquisitions, since Canada’s Biovail Corp. took over U.S.-based Valeant and assumed the Valeant name in September 2010.
Pearson said Valeant would focus on high-growth countries and niche markets, including the Middle East and North Africa. It is not interested in expanding into China and India at this time, he said.
The full-year forecast range excludes contributions from recently announced deals such as Natur Produkt International JSC, Acne Free, Swiss Herbal Life Ltd and OraPharma.
“We see an acceleration in dermatology and very strong growth across all our different segments,” Pearson said.
Pearson also addressed worries about the negative impact of a new drug refund law in Poland, saying the company is expected to keep outperforming rivals there in the second half.
He was also optimistic about the company’s topical drug to treat a type of fungal nail infection that is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Valeant’s shares were down more than 5 percent to C$46.53 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.