Rayonier is splitting into two companies

Jacksonville, Fla.-based forest products company Rayonier is going through a bit of a breakup. The company announced Monday that it is spinning off its fibers business from its forest resources and real estate business, forming two separate publicly traded companies.

“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,” said chairman, president and CEO Paul Boynton.

The company has been planning for the separation for close to two years, and the tax-free spinoff is expected to be completed mid-year following approval from Rayonier's board and a favorable ruling from the Internal Revenue Service.

At that point, both companies will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Additionally, Rayonier Inc. will remain a real estate investment trust.

The fibers business has yet to be named, though Boynton will serve as that company's president, chairman and CEO, as well as assist Rayonier Inc. in its search for a new CEO.

Current board members will be split up between the Rayonier Inc. board and the performance fibers business' board. Richard Kincaid will serve as chairman of Rayonier's board, and David Brown will become lead director with the new company.