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The CEO of Bausch Health Companies Inc. is predicting revenue growth this year as the drug maker emerges from a mountain of debt and lawsuits.

Joseph Papa said Monday he expects Bausch — formerly known as Valeant Pharmaceuticals — will double revenue from its seven major products to between US$150 million and US$300 million, driving overall sales growth.

The so-called “significant seven” include eye care products that treat conditions ranging from glaucoma to bloodshot eyes.

Since taking the helm in 2016, Papa has shifted away from the aggressive acquisition strategy of his predecessor, Mike Pearson, and focused on slashing the company’s consequent debt, reducing it by more than US$1 billion in 2018 to less than US$25 billion.

Papa, in presentation notes ahead of a health-care conference in San Francisco, said he aims to put another US$1 billion-plus toward debt reduction and “bolt-on” acquisitions in 2019.

Bausch, based in Laval, Que., has spent the past few years mired in investigations and lawsuits, including antitrust litigation and a fraud probe in California.

The company has landed settlements or dismissals for about 60 matters as of Nov. 7, with most of the legal issues now resolved, according to a spokeswoman.

Bausch saw a net loss of US$3.8 billion in the first nine months of 2018. But in November the company raised its forecast for full-year adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for the second time that year, predicting EBITDA of between US$3.3 billion and US$3.45 billion.

RBC Dominion Securities analyst Douglas Miehm said the CEO’s forecast largely matches his own outlook, “but we view it is a sign of management’s confidence in this basket of goods.”

Miehm said in an investor note that Bausch “has historically been conservative” in its full-year guidance and that product sales “may in fact outperform these expectations.”

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