JACKSONVILLE, FL - Rayonier Inc. will separate its forestry and real estate holdings from its chemicals business, to form two independent, publicly traded companies. The separation of Rayonier's (NYSE: RYN) businesses is expected to be completed in mid-2014.

The newly created forest resources and real estate business will retain the Rayonier name. The company said it owns, manages or leases 2.6 million acres of timber and land in the United States and New Zealand. 2013 sales for this segment were $700 million; of that, forest resources accounted for 57% of revenues.

Overall sales for the company in 2013 were $1.7 billion.

“Rayonier’s board and management team continuously evaluate strategic options to best position the company to drive value for shareholders. As part of our strategic planning process, we began in-depth analysis and preparation for the business separation almost two years ago. 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,” Paul Boynton, chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement.

In repositioning its forest resources portfolio, Rayonier recently sold its New York timberlands as well as  its Georgia softwood mills to International Forest Products Ltd. (Interfor). The company retains holdings in Washington, the Atlantic region, Gulf States region and New Zealand.

Following the split, Boynton will become chairman, president and CEO of the Performance Fibers company, and Hans Vanden Noort, CFO, will remain CFO of Rayonier. The current business unit leaders will continue in their roles, with Lynn Wilson, EVP Forest Resources and Chris Corr, SVP Real Estate at Rayonier and Jack Kriesel, SVP Performance Fibers at the Performance Fibers company.

Each company will be listed separately on the NYSE. The Performance Fibers chemicals business, which generated $1 billion in sales in 2013, has yet to be named.

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