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Timkin Splitting Two Businesses

Sep 6, 2013

The North Canton-based Timken Company is splitting its steel and bearings businesses into two, a move outside shareholders have been pushing.

M.L. Schultze of member station WKSU in Kent reports.

Timken says its steel division will become one stand-alone, publicly traded business, while its bearings and power transmission division will become another. All this is expected to be completed by the end of next year.

The split comes over the initial objections of the Timken family, the company’s senior management and the United Steelworkers union. It was pushed by the California State Teachers Retirement System and an allied advisor called Relational Investors, who won a proxy vote at the company’s annual meeting in Canton this spring.

They argued that the combined company’s stock was undervalued, and the pension spokesman, Mike Sicilia, says the final decision is a good one.

“We believe this will create a long-term benefit for shareholders and two really good companies for the Canton area.”

But many in Stark County fear the split could disrupt Canton’s more than 100-year-old relationship with Timken.

Timken estimates the bearings company will have annual revenue
$3.4 billion, while steel will do about half that. The steel division employs by far the greatest number of the 2,300 union members who work in Stark County, and the company also has its research and headquarters here.

Timken’s chairman, Ward J. Timken Jr., will head the steel business. The current CEO, James Griffith will retire. And Richard Kyle will take over bearings.