Valeant sparked expectations that it is about to raise new capital after filing what it described as a “routine” application with the securities regulator in Quebec.

The highly-indebted drugmaker, which is headquartered in Quebec, said it had filed a “private placement exemption application” with the Canadian province’s regulator, the Autorité des marchés financiers.

Such a filing must be made before a Quebec-based company can raise debt, or public or private equity.

In a statement, the company said it “routinely evaluates refinancing opportunities including capital markets transactions, to continue to enhance its capital structure”.

It added: “At this time, no decision has been made with respect to any capital markets transactions.The company does not intend to provide any updates on its financing plans until a definitive decision on any such financing has been made.”

Investors sold off the company’s stock on fears that its value would be diluted by any equity raise, sending its shares down 4.4 per cent in early New York trading.

A person briefed on the company’s plans said that the company was constantly evaluating refinancing opportunities because of its high debt levels.

Valeant has been selling off assets to try to pay down big chunks of its $29bn in debt, but doing so has meant sacrificing cash flows that could be used to service its remaining borrowings.

Update: A spokesperson for Valeant forwarded a copy of the filing with the Quebec regulator which said the application was for debt, not equity.

In the filing, the regulator said it was considering a request for permission to raise up to $1.5bn in senior notes outside of Quebec.

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