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Valeant Pharma shares soar as it offloads US$2bn worth of assets to ease debt

The money will be used to pay down some of its US$30mln debt
a woman looking into a mirror applying cream to her face
L'Oreal is buying three of Valeant's skincare brands

Shares in Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (TSE:VRX) rose sharply on Tuesday after it told investors that it is selling off more than US$2bn worth of assets to help ease its crippling debts.

French cosmetics giant L’Oreal is acquiring the CeraVe, AcneFree and Ambi skincare brands from Valeant for around US$1.3bn in cash.

The group also stands to make a tidy profit from its Dendreon unit – purchased back in 2015 for US$300mln – which it is offloading to China’s Sanpower Group for around US$820mln.

Valeant will use the cash generated from the sales to pay down some of its US$30bn debts.

“With this sale, we are better aligning our product portfolio with Valeant's new operating strategy by exiting the urological oncology business, which is one of our non-core assets,” said Valeant chief executive Joseph Papa.

Analysts have speculated that more sales could be on the way for Valeant, which grew rapidly between 2010 and 2015 following an acquisition spree that left it saddled with huge debts.

Its share price tanked last year after rumours that it secretly worked with a specialist pharmacy to boost sales of some of its medicines.

Shares were up 11% to US$16.95 in early deals.

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