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Zoltek Jumps on Report Toray to Buy Carbon Fiber Maker

Zoltek Companies Inc. rose the most in six months after the Nikkei newspaper reported the U.S. producer of carbon fiber for windmill blades will be acquired by Japanese competitor Toray Industries Inc.

Zoltek, which is based in St. Louis, gained 13 percent to $18.51 at the close in New York.

Toray will pay an estimated 60 billion yen ($610 million) to 70 billion yen for Zoltek, Nikkei said. Zoltek Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Zsolt Rumy and Chief Financial Officer Andrew Whipple didn’t immediately respond to voicemail messages today. No one answered calls made to Toray outside of normal business hours.

Zoltek, founded in 1975 by Rumy, has faced pressure to make changes since March when activist investor Quinpario Partners LLC acquired a 10 percent stake and offered to buy the company for a per-share price in the mid-teens. Zoltek rebuffed the bid and in April hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. to explore “strategic alternatives.”

Carbon fiber is a strong, lightweight material increasingly used to build airplanes, autos, windmill blades and golf clubs, among other uses. Zoltek had $43.5 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization last year on revenue of $186.3 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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