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Zoltek Companies, Inc. (Nasdaq: ZOLT) announced today that it is working with Magna Exteriors and Interiors, an operating unit of Magna International Inc., under an exclusive global collaborative partnership to speed development of low-cost carbon fiber sheeting molding compounds (SMC) for the automotive industry.  The official announcement was made at the 2012 JEC Composites Show in Paris.

The newly developed carbon fiber SMC material will use Zoltek’s Panex®35 commercial carbon fiber combined with Magna’s unique EpicBlendSMC™ sheet molding compound formulations and production expertise.

“We have long regarded the automotive industry as the largest potential user of low-cost, high-performance carbon fibers, and it is a vital part of our strategy as the largest producer of these fiber to work closely with leading suppliers to the automotive industry of parts and sub-systems,”  Zsolt Rumy, Zoltek’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said.  “We regard our partnership with Magna as a very important step forward in speeding the development of low-cost, high-performance carbon fiber materials that will enable auto makers to produce new generations of safe, comfortable and yet extraordinarily fuel efficient vehicles.”

Under the brand name, EpicBlendSMC EB CFS-Z, the new material will enable Magna to offer an expanded range of lightweight parts and sub-systems for automotive, commercial truck and other markets. Additionally, Magna Exteriors and Interiors will be able to offer the EB CFS-Z sheet molding compound for sale directly to molders.

“With this collaboration, we now have a strong partner in the development of carbon fiber SMC,” said Bob Brownlee, President of Magna Exteriors and Interiors.  “This partnership further positions our company to produce and deliver lightweight products that help our customers meet the demands for more cost-effective energy-efficient solutions.”

Rumy added:  “The great synergy between our two companies resulted in the Magna/Zoltek technical teams developing this all-new low-cost carbon fiber sheet molding compound in an extremely short period of time.”

Representative parts molded from the new SMC product will be on display at the JEC Zoltek booth T31.