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Mark IV Industries sold its industrial filter business, raising $144.8 million to reduce debt and buy back stock, company officials announced Monday.

The deal raises the Amherst-based manufacturer's proceeds from selling non-core businesses to $460 million in the last eight months.

The restructuring has helped Mark IV's stock value surge almost 50 percent this year.

The company announced Monday the sale of three industrial and specialty filtration operations to Rockford, Ill.-based Clarcor Inc. The businesses sold are all outside Western New York, with two in North Carolina and one in Italy.

Mark IV employs more than 16,000 people worldwide, including about 475 Western New Yorkers.

The filtration line, which posted revenue of $150 million last year, sold for $144.8 million cash.

Mark IV has been selling businesses to concentrate on its core power transmission and fluid transfer products for industrial and automotive companies.

"The asset sales have been part of a program to improve the company's return on capital employed through a combination of the sale of non-core businesses, strategic acquisitions, debt and stock repurchases and on-going cost reduction efforts throughout the company," Mark IV Chairman and CEO Sal H. Alfiero said.

The company will use the cash to retire high cost debt and repurchase common stock. Mark IV has already bought back about 28 percent of its stock.

The company expects no gain or loss on the transaction and the net effect on earnings per share will be neutral to slightly accretive on a pro forma basis after the proceeds from the sale have been applied.

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