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Timken panel to review steel business strategy

CANTON, Ohio (AP) -- Timken Co. said Monday it has formed a strategy committee to consider separation of steel business from its bearings businesses.

The committee is made up Joseph Ralston, who will serve as chair of the panel, and the other eight independent and non-Timken family members of the board of directors. Goldman Sachs will assist the committee in its evaluation.

Relational Investors, the company's largest shareholder, proposed the separation in 2012. It said the two businesses didn't fit together and that Timken would maximize value for shareholders if they were separated.

The activist fund led by investor Ralph Whitworth, along with the California State Teachers' Retirement System, another large shareholder, went public with its view after Timken said it had decided against the idea.

Shareholders supported the split in a non-binding vote at the company's annual meeting: 47 percent of Timken shares were voted in favor of a spinoff of the steel business and 41 percent were voted against. Of the shares that were voted, about 53 percent were voted in favor of the spinoff.

The company has a total of 12 directors. The non-independent directors are President and CEO James Griffith and the three members of the Timken family, including Chairman Ward Timken Jr.

Relational owns 6.6 million shares of Timken, or a 6.9-percent stake, according to FactSet

Shares of Timken rose $1.31, or 2.3 percent, to $58.75 in aftermarket trading. The shares closed the regular session down 24 cents at $57.44. The stock is up about 20 percent since the start of the year.