February 28, 2017 / 12:36 PM / in 6 months

UPDATE 1-Valeant Pharma's profit beats expectations

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Feb 28 (Reuters) - Canada's Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday, helped by lower costs and strength in its Bausch and Lomb eyecare business.

Since taking the helm last year, Chief Executive Joseph Papa has been trying to rebuild Valeant's business and regain investor confidence after it came under investigation over its accounting and pricing practices.

Laval, Quebec-based Valeant has also faced intense political scrutiny for hiking the prices of its drugs as well as for the unorthodox use of a specialty pharmacy to boost sales.

Net loss attributable to Valeant widened to $515 million, or $1.47 per share in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $385 million, or $1.12 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, it earned $1.26 per share, beating analysts' average estimate of $1.19, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Selling, general and administrative costs declined 10.5 percent to $665 million.

Revenue fell 12.9 percent to $2.40 billion, but exceeded the average expectation of $2.33 billion.

Valeant has also been shedding assets to reduce its debt load of about $30 billion. It announced the sale its Dendreon cancer treatment business and three skincare brands for $2.12 billion last month.

The company said it expected 2017 revenue of $8.90 billion-$9.10 billion. Analysts were expecting revenue of $8.96 billion.

Valeant's New York-listed shares were up 0.5 percent in premarket trading.

Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar

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