Basilea Rises as Payout Opposed by Board Approved

Basilea Pharmaceutica AG rose the most in more than a month after shareholders pushed through a proposal to return 48 million francs ($52 million) in cash to shareholders, a move opposed by the Swiss biotechnology company’s board.

The stock climbed as much as 4.2 percent, the biggest intraday increase since March 4, and were up 3.8 percent at 58.10 francs at 10:09 a.m. in Zurich. That values the company at 557 million francs.

Shareholders yesterday approved the proposal from the company’s biggest investor, HBM Healthcare Investments (Cayman) Ltd., to distribute 5 francs per share. Basilea’s board had opposed the payment, arguing this would hurt the company’s flexibility.

“Given that even after the payout, Basilea’s cash position still appears ample and adequate, we would not follow this argumentation,” David Kaegi, an analyst at Sarasin in Zurich, wrote in a note to customers today. “Rather, a too large cash position may seduce the management to take inadequate risks or not execute as quickly as possible at this stage of development.”

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