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Zoltek considers strategic alternatives

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Zoltek Cos. Inc. said Tuesday that it has hired J.P. Morgan Securities LLC to help the company evaluate its strategic alternatives.

The St. Louis company, which makes carbon fibers and technical fibers, gave no further details on what is behind this decision. Companies generally consider a sale of the business among its options when reviewing their strategic alternatives.

Zoltek has been under pressure from shareholders to make changes. Last month, investment firm Quinpario Partners LLC disclosed a minority stake in the company and requested a shareholder meeting to oust the company board. Zoltek refused such a meeting. That followed Quinpario's push in November for an outright acquisition of Zoltek or an equity investment that would fund a large special dividend.

Zoltek has been struggling with the impact of a difficult economy and uncertain market conditions for wind turbine makers, which make up much of its customer base.

The company said Tuesday that it does not intend to announce further developments until its board either completes its review or enters into a definitive agreement for a transaction.

Zoltek's shares jumped 72 cents, nearly 6 percent, to $13.00 in after-hours trading on the news.