Ashland prepares for global expansion in specialty chemicals

Its recent $3 billion agreement to buy Hercules Inc. will catapult Ashland Inc. into a global leadership position in the arena of specialty chemicals. Covington-based Ashland will get a big boost in the water-treatment market, primarily serving the pulp and paper industry.  Other key water treatment markets will be targeted, including municipal, industrial and marine. The acquisition will create three new businesses for Ashland: specialty additives and ingredients; paper and water technologies; and specialty resins, giving it the core of a major specialty chemicals business. "The acquisition of Hercules fulfills our objective to become a leading specialty chemicals company," says Ashland CEO James O'Brien. The company says specialty chemicals will become its key business for future growth, with profits from the sector expected to account for nearly 75 percent of the company's overall earnings.

Writer: David Holthaus
Source: James Vitak, Ashland

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