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The Westaim Corporation requisitions meeting of shareholders of NUCRYST Pharmaceuticals to return capital to NUCRYST shareholders

CALGARY, Dec. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - The Westaim Corporation today announced it has requisitioned a special meeting of shareholders of NUCRYST Pharmaceuticals Corp. to consider a return of capital to NUCRYST shareholders of approximately US$15 million or US$0.80 per share. Westaim will continue to review alternatives to maximize the value of its 74.5 per cent stake in NUCRYST. Under the Alberta Business Corporations Act, NUCRYST's Board of Directors has 20 days to call a meeting of shareholders when requisitioned.

In addition to its 74.5 percent stake in NUCRYST, Westaim has net assets of approximately $15 million including cash of approximately $20 million; third-party asset backed commercial paper with a book value of $5 million and liabilities of approximately $11 million. In addition, Westaim has approximately $100 million in tax pools available for use against future income.

Westaim's cash position will be strengthened by approximately $13 million pending the return of capital to be considered at the meeting of NUCRYST shareholders.

"Westaim's Board of Directors has considered all strategic alternatives to maximize the value of its assets," said Drew Fitch, President & CEO, The Westaim Corporation. "Given the current liquidity and credit crisis and the related scarcity of available new debt and equity capital, we believe our cash resources position us well to pursue new investment opportunities to grow the value of the company and realize maximum returns for our shareholders."

The Westaim Corporation's common shares are listed on The Toronto Stock Exchange under the trading symbol WED. Westaim holds a 74.5 percent interest in NUCRYST Pharmaceuticals Corp. (NASDAQ: NCST; TSX: NCS).

This news release contains forward-looking statements. These statements are based on current expectations that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and Westaim can give no assurance that these expectations are correct. Various factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in such statements, including but not limited to statements regarding Westaim's intention to review its alternatives for maximizing the value of its stake in Nucryst, the expected strengthening of Westaim's cash position on a return of capital by Nucryst, and pursuit of new investment opportunities to grow the value of the company and to realize maximum returns for shareholders. Westaim disclaims any intention or obligation to revise forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise. Accordingly, readers are advised not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, and should not rely on this information at any date other than the date of this news release. All forward-looking statements are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.

SOURCE Westaim Corporation
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