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Toray to buy Zoltek for $584 million

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The Japanese carbon fiber maker Toray Industries will spend $584 million to acquire Zoltek of St. Louis as demand for hi-tech materials increases.

Carbon fiber is used to produce lightweight, high-performance equipment for things like wind turbines.

Toray said late Thursday that it would pay $16.75 per share. That is a 2 percent premium compared with the closing stock price Wednesday, but it's 10 percent the closing price Thursday after word of the deal leaked.

Earlier this year, Quinpario Partners LLC began building a stake in Zoltek and began pushing for a sale or some other action, such as a recapitalization.

The acquisition is expected to close in late 2013 or early 2014. Zoltek said that it will be run as a subsidiary of Toray and operate as a separate business unit.

"Toray provides unique opportunities to drive the continued growth of our commercial carbon fibers business well into the future," said Zsolt Rumy, Zoltek's chairman and CEO.

Toray Industries Inc., which is based in Tokyo, makes carbon fibers, textiles, plastics and chemicals used in clothing, home appliances, automobiles and electronics. Zoltek, which is based in St. Louis, makes carbon fibers used in the automotive, energy and sporting goods industries.

Zoltek Cos. shares fell $2.06, or 11 percent, to $16.45 in premarket trading Friday.