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US-based Ashland to change into a high-growth specialty chemicals company

June 01/2011

(ICIS) -- US-based Ashland plans to pay down debt while continuing to change into a high-margin, high-growth specialty chemicals company following its planned acquisition of US-based International Specialty Products (ISP), Ashland’s chief executive said on Tuesday.

“This has been a transformational story for Ashland. [The Hercules acquisition] was our first choice to upgrade our position in specialty chemicals, and ISP will define us. But the story is not fully written,” said chairman and CEO James O’Brien in an interview with ICIS.

Ashland has agreed to buy ISP for USD 3.2bn (EUR 2.2bn) in cash, representing a multiple of 8.9 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of USD 360m for the 12 months ended March 31.

The deal will expand Ashland’s positions in the personal care, pharmaceutical, food and beverage and oilfield chemicals markets.

After the close of the deal, expected before the end of September, about 74% of Ashland’s EBITDA will be from specialty chemicals businesses, O’Brien said.

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