Ashland Inc. is splitting itself into two publicly traded companies, one of which will include several plastics-related products.
Officials with Covington, Ky.-based Ashland said in a Sept. 22 news release that one company will keep the Ashland name and focus on specialty chemicals. The second will use the Valvoline name and will make high-performance lubricants.
The new Ashland will have annual sales of around $3.6 billion and will include specialty polyester and vinyl ester resins, as well as bioplastics and water-soluble polymers. Valvoline will have annual sales of about $2 billion.
“We believe that separating into two industry-leading public companies … will generate significant value for shareholders by enabling each company to focus on its specific business and strategic priorities,” Chairman and CEO William Wulfsohn said in the release.
Wulfsohn will continue as chairman and CEO of the new Ashland. Ashland Senior Vice President Sam Mitchell will become CEO of Valvoline.
Officials described the split as “the final step in Ashland's more than decade-long transformation from an oil refiner and marketer to a specialty chemicals company.”
In the first nine months of its 2015 fiscal year — which ends on Sept. 30 — Ashland's profit more than doubled to $363 million even as sales fell 10 percent to $4.1 billion. Those results, however, come after a 2014 fiscal year in which profit tumbled almost 70 percent and sales were flat.
On Wall Street, news of the split sent Ashland's per-share stock price up more than 1 percent to almost $107 in the midst of a broad market selloff Sept. 22. Even with that rise, the price has fallen almost 11 percent since Jan. 1.