Rayonier to spin off cellulose fiber business

Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:06pm EST

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Jan 27 (Reuters) - Forest products company Rayonier Inc said it would spin off its cellulose fiber business into a publicly traded company, sending its shares up as much as 10 percent.

Revenue from the business, which produces specialty fibers used in producing filters and LCD screens, fell about 5 percent to $1.04 billion in 2013 while total revenue rose 15 percent to $1.71 billion.

"With an improving U.S. housing market, strong timber export markets, and the successful expansion of our cellulose specialties capacity, we concluded that now is the optimal time to pursue the separation of these two non-integrated businesses," Chief Executive Paul Boynton said.

Boynton will become the CEO of the new company after the spinoff, Rayonier said.

After the spinoff, expected to be completed in mid-2014, Rayonier will comprise its forest resources and real estate business.

Rayonier said it expects to maintain its quarterly dividend until the separation is completed. The new company is expected to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company also said its fourth-quarter income attributable to shareholders rose to $80 million, or 62 cents per share, from $76 million, or 59 cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned 64 cents per share, above analysts' average estimate of 52 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue jumped 26 percent to $520.2 million. Analysts had expected $441.6 million.

Rayonier shares were up 7 percent at $44.03 on The New York Stock Exchange on Monday. (Reporting by Anannya Pramanick in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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