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Under pressure from an activist investor, packaging maker MeadWestvaco will spin off its specialty chemical operations to shareholders by the end of 2015. The specialty operations make activated carbon as well as asphalt paving, pine, and oil-field chemicals. The business had revenues of $980 million in 2013 and ranks 43rd on C&EN’s list of the Top 50 U.S. chemical firms. The separation will create two companies better positioned to grow in their targeted markets, MWV Chairman John A. Luke Jr. says. MWV will continue to focus on its $4.4 billion packaging operation. Luke had some help coming to that conclusion. Back in June, activist investor fund Starboard Value urged Luke to “explore a separation” of the firm’s noncore assets.
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