September 5, 2019 / 5:39 PM / 11 days ago

Mallinckrodt downplays bankruptcy fears, says hires advisers 'all the time'

(Reuters) - Mallinckrodt Plc on Thursday downplayed a media report that the company had hired restructuring firms and may choose to seek bankruptcy protection.

The company will not specifically comment on what it called market speculation, Chief Executive Officer Mark Trudeau said, adding that “like any other company, we hire advisers for different types of things all the time.”

Bloomberg reported late on Wednesday that Mallinckrodt has hired law firm Latham & Watkins LLP and consulting firm AlixPartners LLP to help limit its potential legal liabilities from lawsuits related to the U.S. opioid crisis.

The company’s shares fell as much as 44.8% to an all-time low of $1.43 on Thursday.

Trudeau, at an investor conference in Boston, said the market was making broad assumptions that were independent from what the company was trying to do.

Mallinckrodt was still focused on separating its generics unit, which sells opioid drugs, from its specialty business, Trudeau said.

“Any company has to consider a broad range of options ... we have been focused publicly to say we are not the best owners of the opioid business,” said Trudeau.

Opioid makers in the United States, including Mallinckrodt, face pressure from a crackdown on the addictive drug in the wake of the opioid crisis and as state attorneys general file lawsuits against manufacturers.

Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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