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Kimberly-Clark pursues spin-off of health care business

A package of Kleenex brand tissue, made by Kimberly-Clark, is shown in Boca Raton, Florida October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

(Reuters) - Kimberly-Clark Corp (KMB), the maker of Kleenex tissues, said its board authorized a potential spin-off of its health care business, sending its shares up 6 percent in extended trading.

The company said the move would enable it to focus on its consumer and K-C professional brands.

Kimberly-Clark said Robert Abernathy, currently group president - Europe, global nonwovens and continuous improvement and sustainability, will become chief executive of the new health care company if its spun off.

The company said it expects to make a final recommendation regarding in the next several months. If the spin-off is approved, the transaction would be completed by the end of the third quarter of 2014.

Morgan Stanley has been retained by the company in pursuit of the spin-off.

Kimberly-Clark's health care business sells surgical and infection prevention products for the operating room, as well as medical devices. It posted net sales of $1.6 billion in 2012.

The company's shares were trading at $116.60 after markets closed. They had closed at $109.71 on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

(Reporting By Maria Ajit Thomas in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)