* Adjusted cash EPS $0.51 vs its forecast $0.44-$0.48
* Raises 2011 cash earnings forecast by 20 cents/share
* Sees Q1 EPS $0.50, in line with analyst estimates
* To repurchase shares held by ValueAct for $275 million
* Shares rise 5.4 pct in Torontot (Adds forecast from conference call, shares)
TORONTO, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc (VRX.TO) posted cash earnings and revenue that topped expectations for its first full quarter since combining with Canada’s Biovail, sending its shares higher.
The specialty drugmaker, formed in September when Biovail bought U.S.-based Valeant for $3.3 billion and assumed the Valeant name, also raised its full-year forecast for cash earnings.
Valeant, which focuses on developing and marketing drugs in neurology and dermatology, also said on Thursday it would repurchase its common shares held by ValueAct Capital for $275 million. In connection with that, the company is evaluating debt financing alternatives.
For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, it recorded a net loss of $31.1 million, or 10 cents a share. The result is not comparable with the year-earlier quarter when Biovail and Valeant operated separately.
Cash earnings were 51 cents a share, ahead of its forecast of 44 to 48 cents a share.
Revenue doubled to $514.6 million, topping average analyst expectations of $512.5 million.
For 2011, Valeant forecast cash earnings of $2.45-$2.70 a share, up from an earlier forecast of $2.25-$2.50 per share.
In a conference call with analysts, the company said it sees earnings of 50 cents a share for the first quarter, in line with market expectations.
The stock rose 5.4 percent at C$40.23 on Thursday afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange and 5.5 percent to $40.86 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by S. John Tilak; Editing by Frank McGurty)