NEW YORK - Ashland Chemical Co. just doubled the size of its unsaturated polyester resins business and ensured its position among the top three North American makers of such products. On April 28, Columbus, Ohio-based Ashland completed its acquisition of three related businesses from Aristech Chemical Co. The deal included four unsaturated polyester resin manufacturing plants, 11 fiber-reinforced plastics distribution centers and one maleic anhydride manufacturing plant from Aristech.
The polyester facilities give Ashland 240 million pounds of additional capacity - for a corporate total of 440 million pounds. The maleic anhydride facility ensures the company's supply of that feedstock, President David J. D'Antoni said at a news conference May 2 in New York.
D'Antoni would not reveal the exact transaction price, but said this acquisition is the second-largest in Ashland Chemical's history, and cost just less than $90 million - the price Ashland paid for chemical businesses it bought from UnoCal Chemical Co. in 1992. The UnoCal acquisition was Ashland Chemical's largest.
D'Antoni said the Aristech acquisition propels Ashland into several new markets for specialty and general-purpose polyester resins, and considerably widens its fiber-reinforced plastics distribution business.
In unsaturated polyesters, Ashland now will have new products to offer for electrical and electronic applications, an area in which Aristech specialized, and new capacity to produce general-purpose resins, D'Antoni said.
He noted that the current strong demand for polyester resins eliminates any possibility of closing or consolidating any polyester resin manufacturing facility.
Ashland Chemical had four facilities in the United States, one in Toronto and one in Saudi Arabia.
In FRP supply and distribution, the acquisition gives Ashland 11 new distribution centers, many of which are in the Midwest, a new region for Ashland, D'Antoni said. With the addition of those facilities, Ashland will have 58 FRP distribution and stocking centers, he said.
In the acquisition, 150 former Aristech employees joined Ashland, D'Antoni said.
The deal is expected to add $140 million in sales to Ashland Chemical Co., according to D'Antoni.
For fiscal 1994, which ended Sept. 30, 1994, Ashland Chemical reported record sales of $3 billion and operating income of $125 million.
D'Antoni said sales from unsaturated polyester resins, FRP distribution and maleic anhydride contributed $200 million in 1994 sales.
Ashland expects to have a total of $340 million in sales from those businesses in 1995.