February 19, 2009 / 1:02 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 2-QLT rises to profit on Eligard sales

* EPS $0.08 vs loss 62 cents

* Revenue jumps 26.3 percent

* Sees 2009 Visudyne sales between $90 mln and $110 mln

* Eligard 2009 sales seen between $220 mln and $240 mln

(In U.S. dollars. Adds details)

TORONTO, Feb 19 (Reuters) - QLT Inc QLT.TO swung to a fourth-quarter profit on Thursday, as rising sales of its Eligard prostate cancer treatment and gains on asset divestments more than offset falling sales of its Visudyne anti-blindness formula.

The eye-care company said it earned $5.9 million, or 8 cents a share in its fourth-quarter, compared with a loss of $46.5 million, or 62 cents a share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 26.3 percent to $39 million.

Quarterly revenue for Visudyne, which the company shares with global marketing partner Novartis NOVN.VX, fell 32.7 percent to $30.6 million, while revenue from Eligard jumped 23.6 percent to $59.4 million.

For the full year 2008, worldwide Visudyne sales were $141.9 million, 34 percent lower than in 2007, while Eligard sales jumped 24.2 percent to $224.8 million.

QLT expects 2009 Visudyne sales to be in the range of $90 million and $110 million in 2009 with its share of the profits in the 24 percent to 26 percent range. Eligard sales for the full year are expected to be between $220 million and $240 million.

Last year, the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company unveiled restructuring measures as it tried to narrow its focus to eye care. This included the sale of its U.S. operations whose primary assets include Eligard. But it failed to reach an agreement, despite indicating late last year that it was in active discussions to sell the treatment.

However, the company said on Thursday that it still held out hope of divesting the money-making product.

“While we feel comfortable including Eligard in our guidance for 2009, there is still the possibility that we will receive an attractive offer for the asset and divest Eligard at some point in the future,” Bob Butchofsky, president and chief executive, said in a release.

$1=$1.25 Canadian Reporting by Scott Anderson, editing by Dave Zimmerman

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