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Endo Health to slash 15 percent jobs, looks to sell some assets

By Zeba Siddiqui and Vrinda Manocha

(Reuters) - Endo Health Solutions Inc said it plans to cut about 15 percent of its workforce and explore strategic alternatives for some assets as the company looks to cut costs ahead of generic competition for two of its biggest drugs.

The company's chief revenue driver, the Lidoderm pain-relieving patch, will face competition from September after Actavis Inc launches a generic. Endo's petition to block copies of its widely-abused prescription pain drug Opana ER was turned down by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month.

Lidoderm had net sales of $947.7 million in 2012, accounting for about 31 percent of the company's total revenue. Opana accounted for about 10 percent of its sales in the same period.

The restructuring comes after last month's exit of Endo's chief operating officer and chief financial officer.

Investors have high hopes from new Chief Executive Rajiv De Silva, who left his position as President at Canadian drugmaker Valeant Pharmaceuticals Inc to join Endo in March.

De Silva said on Wednesday that he plans to pursue accretive deals with the initial focus being on smaller acquisitions.

"We would like to do small-to-medium size deals in the $250 to $500 million range ... probably in the lower end of the range," De Silva told analysts on a conference call.

However, Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Jim Molloy said acquisitions would be hard to manage, given the huge debt Endo has piled up.

The company had $3.01 billion in long-term debt at the end of March.

The debt would also deter companies interested in buying out Endo, Molloy said.

Sources told Reuters in January that Endo held preliminary talks with generic drug maker Warner Chilcott Plc and Valeant regarding a potential buyout.

SCOPE FOR GROWTH

Endo has tried to expand its product line beyond its core pain treatments over the last few years, with little success.

The company surprised analysts with its $223 million acquisition of urology services and products provider HealthTronics in 2010. That business is one of the assets for which Endo is now exploring options.

More recently, the company's third attempt at gaining U.S. regulatory approval to sell its injectable testosterone drug Aveed proved unsuccessful.

The company said it is also looking to sell some of its early-stage pharmaceutical products, without giving details.

Janney's Molloy said the company could grow within the pain drugs space by looking at acquiring smaller firms such as Impax Laboratories Inc and BioDelivery Sciences International Inc.

Endo said it expects to save $150 million this year and realize $325 million in annual cost savings by mid-2014 through the restructuring.

The plan would reduce Endo's workforce to about 3,935 employees from the 4,629 it had as of February 20.

Endo also cut its full-year forecast for the second time this year. The company now expects adjusted earnings per share of $4.10 to $4.40 on total revenue of $2.65 billion to $2.80 billion.

Last month, Endo said it expected adjusted earnings per share of $4.40 to $4.70 and revenue of $2.80 billion to $2.95 billion.

Analysts on average expect full-year earnings of $4.27 per share on revenue of $2.80 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of the company rose marginally in post-market trading after closing at $35.96 on the Nasdaq on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Zeba Siddiqui and Vrinda Manocha in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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