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Cytec Industries

The hedge fund investors who piled into Cytec Industries ( CYT) in the fourth quarter were richly rewarded when the company confirmed it had hired JPMorgan to help it decide on a spin or sale of its coating resins business. On the news of the strategic decision making, the firm's shares jumped, putting 2012 gains near 30%.

"We are committed to maximizing the value of the Coating Resins business. The decision to explore separation options for the entire business is consistent with our strategy of focusing on our remaining profitable and growing segments," said Cytec Industries Chief Executive Shane Fleming in a fourth quarter earnings statement.

For Barry Rosenstein-run Jana Partners the announcement couldn't have been timed better. The investment fund took an over 3% stake in Cytec Industries worth roughly $85 million in the fourth quarter. In third quarter earnings, the maker of plastic parts used in airplanes disclosed that it would look at strategic alternatives for its coating and resins business. Jana Partners profited off of many of the biggest spins in 2011. Among its top 10 holdings, Marathon Petroleum ( MPC), El Paso ( EP), McGraw Hill ( MHP) and Netflix ( NFLX) all attempted spin or sale plans, with Netflix quickly reversing course. Overall, Cytec Industries is Jana Partners' sixth largest stake, while Liberty Media is its ninth largest holding.

Since October, the Woodland Park, N.J.-based company's shares have rallied as asset value realization strategies become more probable.

Other large shareholders benefitting from a fourth quarter and 2012 rally, are RoundKeep Capital Advisers, Millennium Management and Two Sigma Investments.

Cytec Industries is trying to boost earnings by closing a plant in Brazil for its resins business, while exiting some business lines to re-invest in waterborne and radiation-cured coatings, the company said in its third quarter earnings. The coating resins business accounted for 52% of Cytec Industries' overall sales in 2010. However in third quarter earnings, Cytec projected that the unit would post an operating loss of up to $8 million, reducing its full year earnings to as little as $57 million, a drop from previous projections of $80 million in earnings.

In early 2011, Cytec Industries completed the sale of a chemicals business to private equity firm HIG Capital for $180 million.

Overall, Cytec Industries is expected to earn $3.3 billion in sales and $188 million in profit in 2012, according to consensus estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg, who give the company's shares a $63.17 price target. Revenue is expected to grow to $3.4 billion and profits to $208 million in 2013.

For more on Jana Partners investments see their investement portfolio.

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