The chemicals firm announced yesterday it has approved a plan to split into two independent, public companies, separating its engine and automotive maintenance business from its specialty chemicals business.
The former will be named Valvoline, while the latter will retain the name Ashland, and continue to manufacture active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), excipients and intermediates for the pharma industry.
Company spokesman Gary Rhodes confirmed to in-Pharmatechnologist that it will be business as usual for now for Ashland’s customers, despite the separation.
“There is no immediate impact on our contracts with customers,” he said. “We expect the separation to take at least one full year to complete.”
During a conference call discussing the plan yesterday, CEO William Wulfsohn told stakeholders the split comes at the end of a ten year restructuring plan which has seen Ashland streamline its operations through a series of acquisitions and divestitures, transforming the firm from an oil refiner and marketer to a specialty chemicals company.
Over the past few years, Ashland has expanded its tablet binding ingredient plant in Virginia, a solubilisation site in Delaware, and ramped up production at a tablet disintegration site in Texas. The firm also spent $3.2bn on ISP in 2011 to expand its pharma ingredient business.
“The new Ashland comprising of Ashland Specialty Ingredients will be a leading chemical company,” Wulfsohn said. “It also marks an important milestone as we move to the completion of Ashland’s decade long transformation.
“We intend to leverage this as a catalysing event by making both businesses stronger by enabling the businesses to have the flexibility to pursue their respective operating and strategic comparatives.”