QLT shareholders approve US$200-million special cash distribution

VANCOUVER – QLT Inc. (TSX:QLT) shareholders on Friday approved a special cash distribution of US$200 million, which will see investors get US$3.92 per share.

The record date for the special distribution, first announced in April, is June 24.

The Vancouver-based company was once one of Canada’s most commercially successful biotechnology companies based on the success of its Visudyne treatment for a common form of age-related blindness.

However, the company hasn’t come up with another blockbuster product and shareholders have pushed QLT to downsize — resulting in a reduction of its workforce by more than 80 per cent and the sale of Visudyne.

QLT said its board had initially been authorized to return $100 million in capital, but that doubled with Friday’s shareholder vote.

Combined with a previous repurchase of QLT stock, the distribution will bring the total return of capital to US$227 million over the past 12 months.

QLT shares rose 10 cents to C$8.26 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.