Our largest holding, Valeant, had an outstanding year. Full year numbers have not been reported yet, but we believe that cash earnings per share should exceed $6, well ahead of last year’s result. The big news of the year was the acquisition of Bausch & Lomb for nearly $9 billion in August. The deal should be highly accretive and, together with modest organic growth in its other operations, enable cash earnings per share to increase significantly in 2014. The integration of Bausch & Lomb appears on track with cost synergies, originally estimated by management at around $800 million, now expected to be over $850 million.
Cash earnings per share have probably more than tripled over the last four years. While we do not expect this growth trajectory to continue at such a rapid pace in the future, we do believe the company can continue to produce positive organic growth supplemented by ongoing acquisitions that will enable Valeant to grow cash earnings per share at an above-average rate.
We like Valeant’s approach to the pharmaceutical business. It has acquired a diverse stable of branded, generic and OTC drugs and, more recently, medical devices including dermal fillers and contact lenses. Many of its products are steady sellers in specialty categories like dermatology and ophthalmology. In our view, Valeant is essentially a value investor in health care products.