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Ashland Inc.
Traded as ASH
Industry Manufacturing and chemical distribution
Founded 1924
Headquarters Covington, Kentucky, U.S.
Key people James J. O'Brien, Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and Director
Products Chemicals, plastics, motor oil products, and other specialized products and services

Increase $ 8.206 billion (FY 2012)

Operating income Increase $ 302 million (FY 2012)[1]
Net income Decrease $ 26 million (FY 2012)[1]
Total assets Decrease $ 12.52 billion (FY 2012)[1]
Total equity Decrease $ 4.029 billion (FY 2012)[1]
Employees 15,000 (September 2012)[1]

Ashland Inc. is an American Fortune 500 company which operates in more than 100 countries. Headquartered in Covington, Kentucky, in the United States, the company traces its roots back to Ashland, Kentucky (for which it is named).


Ashland was founded in 1924 as Ashland Refining Company of Ashland, Kentucky, by Paul G. Blazer.[2] In 1930, the nearby Tri-State Refining Company was purchased, adding 5,500 barrels per day of capacity to the company. The company continued to merge or acquire other oil companies, combining with Swiss Oil in 1936, Allied Oil in 1948, Aetna Oil in 1949, and purchasing Frontier Oil Refining and National Refining in 1950. By that time, the company began to diversify, adding petrochemicals to its portfolio with the acquisition of R. J. Brown Company in 1956 and United Carbon in 1963.

Diversification continued with the purchase of Warren Brothers in 1966, which later was to become Ashland Paving and Construction. A significant acquisition was made in 1967 when the company purchased ADM Chemical Group; whose chemical distribution business would go on to be one of the primary businesses of the company in the later part of the 20th century. In 1969, the company reorganized to form Ashland Petroleum, as well as entering into a joint venture in Coal mining under the name Arch Mineral.

In the 1980s and early part of the 1990s, Ashland continued to expand, buying The Permian Corporation and merging it with Scurlock Oil Company in 1991 to form a subsidiary known as Scurlock Permian Corporation. In 1992, most of Unocal's chemical distribution business was acquired, making Ashland the top chemical distributor in North America. At this time, the Industrial Chemicals & Solvents (IC&S) division was established. The company's name was changed from "Ashland Oil" to the present "Ashland Inc." in 1995, which noted the reduced importance of oil in the overall business.[3]

In 1998, the petroleum division merged with Marathon Oil to form Marathon Ashland Petroleum, LLC (MAP).[4] Following that in 1999, Ashland agreed to sell its Scurlock Permian subsidiary to Plains All American Pipeline and the headquarters were moved from Russell, Kentucky, to Covington, Kentucky, although the company maintains an office in Russell.[5] A monumental change came in 2005, when Ashland sold its shares of the Marathon Ashland Petroleum joint venture to Marathon Oil,[6] effectively dissolving the remnants of their petroleum division. After the sale, the company was no longer involved in the refining or marketing of fuels. The original oil refinery in Catlettsburg, Kentucky, is still in operation today and is owned and operated by Marathon. In 2006, Ashland sold APAC (the paving and construction division) to the Oldcastle Materials subsidiary of Oldcastle Inc. of Dublin, Ireland.[7]

Ashland purchased the adhesive and emulsions divisions of Air Products & Chemicals in 2008.[8][9]

Ashland announced plans to acquire Hercules Inc. on July 11, 2008 for $3.3B.[10] On November 13, 2008, the transaction was completed.[11]

In July 2010 Ashland merged its foundry chemicals activity with Süd-Chemie of Munich, Germany to form ASK Chemicals L.P. with headquarters in Dublin, Ohio.

In November 2010 Ashland announced plans to sell its Distribution business known as Ashland Distribution to TPG Capital for $930 Million.[12] The Ashland Distribution business had been a part of Ashland since 1969. With revenues of $3.4 billion, the Ashland Distribution business had approximately 2,000 employees across North America and Europe, and entered the China plastics market in 2009.[12] The sale was finalized April 1, 2011 with a final sale price of 979 million(USD). The new privately held company is named Nexeo Solutions.[13]

In May 2011 Ashland announced that it had bought the privately owned company International Specialty Products Inc. (ISP) for $3.2 billion. ISP is a supplier of specialty chemicals and performance enhancing products for consumer and industrial markets.[14]

Valvoline Instant Oil Change moved into the Southern California area in March 2012 when the EZ Lube franchise had been purchased by Henley Enterprises, VIOC's largest franchisee.[15]


The company currently has four wholly owned divisions, which include Ashland Specialty Ingredients, Ashland Water Technologies, Ashland Performance Materials, & Ashland Consumer Markets (Valvoline).

Ashland Specialty Ingredients

The Specialty Ingredients division offers products, technologies and resources for formulation and product performance. The markets for the products include personal care, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, coatings and energy. In May 2011 Ashland bought the company ISP inc, which was planned to be incorporated into the Ashland Specialty Ingredients division.[14]

Ashland Performance Materials

Combining the Casting Solutions, Composite Polymers, and Specialty Polymers & Adhesives businesses, Performance Materials provides products for the construction, packaging, transport, marine, and metal casting industries. Twenty nine manufacturing facilities are located in 15 countries around the world. Casting Solutions makes Foundry Binder Resins, chemicals, sleeves, and filters for the metalworking industry. The Composite Polymers business sells unsaturated polyester resins, vinyl ester resins, and gelcoats, for use in Composites. Finally, the Specialty Polymers & Adhesives business manufactures various adhesives and resins for the transportation, aerospace, and construction industries.

Ashland Consumer Markets (Valvoline)

Valvoline is one of the largest producers of motor oil in the United States. Valvoline was founded by Dr. John Ellis who formulated a petroleum-based lubricant in 1866 and trademarked the Valvoline name in 1873 in Binghamton, NY. Currently, Valvoline World Headquarters are in Lexington, Kentucky. Valvoline is the oldest motor oil marketer in the United States.[16]

In North America, Valvoline is divided into two main sections. The "Do it for me" (DIFM) business, which includes over 800 company and franchise Valvoline Instant Oil Change locations; a contractual "non franchise" branch of automotive care facilities named Valvoline Express Care; and the generally supply agreement only "We Feature" outlets. The "Do it yourself" (DIY) business includes automotive related products. Included in these are Valvoline lubricants, along with Car Brite commercial automotive appearance products, Eagle One consumer automotive appearance products, Pyroil automotive chemicals, and Zerex antifreeze. Outside of North America, the company has very few auto care businesses, but rather focuses on selling to consumers as well as OEM manufacturers. Valvoline operates in the United Kingdom from Birkenhead, Merseyside. Valvoline has also sponsored NASCAR drivers, and with MB2 Motorsports, formed MBV Motorsports.[17] Valvoline has also sponsored drivers Johnny Benson, Jr.,[17] Scott Riggs,[17] Patrick Carpentier,[18] AJ Allmendinger,[19] Matt Kenseth,[20] Greg Biffle,[21] Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.,[21] Carl Edwards,[21] Trevor Bayne[21] and Casey Mears[21] in the Sprint Cup Series. Valvoline also will sponsor Hendrick Motorsports starting in 2014.[22] Valvoline has also sponsored NHRA drivers Tony Schumacher,[21] John Beckman,[21] Antron Brown,[21] Matt Hagan,[21] Spencer Massey,[21] and Ron Capps.[21]

Ashland Water Technologies

In the Water Technologies division, Ashland makes chemical and non-chemical water treatment products for industrial, commercial, and municipal customers. This includes influent and wastewater treatment, and boiling and cooling water treatment chemicals. Ashland acquired the French company OTENE in 2000,and Degussa AG's water treatment business in 2006.[23] In late 2008 with the closure of the Hercules Inc. acquisition, the water and papers division was created with expected revenues in excess of $2 billion.[10] In June 2009, the Drew Marine division of Ashland Water Technologies was sold to J. F. Lehman & Co. for approximately $120 million.[24] Drew Industrial remained an operating business of Ashland Water Technologies.[25]

Environmental record

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst identified Ashland as the 50th-largest corporate producer of air pollution in the United States, with roughly 238,000 pounds of toxic chemicals released into the air in 2002.[26] Major pollutants indicated by the study included chromium compounds, polycyclic aromatic compounds, diisocyanate, manganese, and nickel. [27]

As of 2013, Valvoline is the only major lubricant brand that mass-produces a motor oil consisting of at least 50% recycled and re-refined base stock.[28]


External links

  • Ashland official website
  • Ashland SEC Filings
  • Valvoline official website
  • Car Brite official website
  • Nexeo Solutions official website
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