Ralston Purina (St. Louis, MO) announced plans to spin off Eveready Battery Company Inc. to shareholders. Completion of the spin off is expected to take seven to 10 months, and is contingent on a favorable tax ruling form the IRS. Eveready is the world's largest manufacturer of dry cell batteries and flashlights, with products distributed in 160 countries worldwide. Primary batteries account for more than 80 percent of sales, including the Energizer Advanced formula alkaline and Eveready carbon zinc brands. In fiscal 1998, sales were $2.07 billion.J. Patrick Mulcahy has resigned his position as co-CEO and co-President of Ralston Purina in order to focus on Eveready's battery products business in preparation for the spin off. He will continue as a member of the Ralston Purina board and remain Chairman and CEO of Eveready.