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Ashland Inc. highlights growth opportunities and reaffirms overall fiscal 2014 financial targets at analyst day conference in New York City



2012-12-04 19:01:57 -


December 4, 2012

COVINGTON, Ky. - Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) today provided an in-depth look at the
growth opportunities available within Ashland Specialty Ingredients, its largest
and most profitable commercial unit, at a conference for analysts and investors
in New York City. The company also reaffirmed its previously announced overall
financial targets for fiscal 2014.

Since completing the acquisition of International Specialty Products (ISP) in
August 2011, Ashland is "beginning to see the type of earnings power that we
envisioned when we combined these two companies, with improved margins that
better reflect our focus on specialty chemicals," said James O'Brien, Ashland
chairman and chief executive officer.

With the addition of ISP's attractive market positions in personal care and
pharmaceuticals, Ashland more than doubled the size of its Specialty Ingredients
business. The company also tripled its team of research and development
scientists, and quadrupled its patent portfolio. The acquisition expanded
Ashland's ability to deliver industry-leading innovation in a number of
important high-growth end markets, including personal care, pharmaceutical, food
and beverage, and energy. Today Specialty Ingredients is Ashland's fastest-
growing commercial unit, accounting for approximately 60 percent of its adjusted
earnings before interest, taxes depreciation and amortization (adjusted EBITDA).

During the investor conference, John Panichella, group operating officer and
president of Specialty Ingredients, outlined the commercial unit's growth
strategy. It includes:
* Leveraging the broad product portfolio to drive growth through industry-
leading market channels;
* Continuing to implement a "high-touch" sales and service model for top 40
strategic accounts;
* Investing in emerging regions, where demand is growing at much faster rates
than more developed economies;
* Driving innovation through new-product development and customer
collaboration;
* Pursuing adjacent technologies that contribute to the unit's core businesses
and channels; and
* Selectively investing capital to achieve highest-rate returns, such as
through capacity expansion and productivity improvements.


Also at the conference, Ashland reaffirmed its commitment to achieving the
overall fiscal 2014 financial targets it laid out a year ago. These goals
include increasing adjusted EBITDA to approximately $1.7 billion and growing
earnings per share from continuing operations to the range of $9.50 - $10.50 per
share.

"Today we are squarely focused on driving top-line sales growth and earnings
expansion through organic volume growth, margin expansion, cost efficiencies and
strategic capital investment, including potential bolt-on acquisitions. Cash
generation will be a particular focus, with that money being reinvested in our
highest-return opportunities," O'Brien said. "We are off to a good start
toward
achieving our 2014 financial targets. Working together, we have dramatically
reshaped the company and positioned it for long-term success. Now it is time to
build on our momentum and establish a track record of performance that will
define Ashland for years to come."

Analyst Day Webcast Replay
Ashland's investor day was attended by more than 100 analysts and portfolio
managers and was webcast. A copy of the slide presentation is available through
Ashland's website at investor.ashland.com. A replay of the webcast will
be available online within 24 hours of the conclusion of the live event.

Use of Non-GAAP Measures
This news release includes certain non-GAAP measures. Such measurements are not
prepared in accordance with GAAP and should not be construed as an alternative
to reported results determined in accordance with GAAP. Management believes the
use of such non-GAAP measures assists investors in understanding the ongoing
operating performance of the company and its segments. The non-GAAP information
provided may not be consistent with the methodologies used by other companies.
For a reconciliation of these non-GAAP amounts to reported GAAP results, please
see Ashland's previous filings.

About Ashland
In more than 100 countries, the people of Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) provide the
specialty chemicals, technologies and insights to help customers create new and
improved products for today and sustainable solutions for tomorrow. Our
chemistry is at work every day in a wide variety of markets and applications,
including architectural coatings, automotive, construction, energy, food and
beverage, personal care, pharmaceutical, tissue and towel, and water treatment.
Visit ashland.com to see the innovations we offer through our four commercial
units - Ashland Specialty Ingredients, Ashland Water Technologies, Ashland
Performance Materials and Ashland Consumer Markets.

- 0 -

C-ASH

Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of
Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934. In addition, Ashland may from time to time make forward-
looking statements in its other filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC), news releases and other written and oral communications. These
forward-looking statements are based on Ashland's expectations and assumptions,
as of the date such statements are made, regarding Ashland's future operating
performance and financial condition, the economy and other future events or
circumstances. Ashland's expectations and assumptions include, without
limitation, internal forecasts and analyses of current and future market
conditions and trends, management plans and strategies, operating efficiencies
and economic conditions (such as prices, supply and demand, cost of raw
materials, and the ability to recover raw-material cost increases through price
increases), and risks and uncertainties associated with the following: Ashland's
substantial indebtedness (including the possibility that such indebtedness and
related restrictive covenants may adversely affect Ashland's future cash flows,
results of operations, financial condition and its ability to repay debt),
severe weather, natural disasters, and legal proceedings and claims (including
environmental and asbestos matters). Various risks and uncertainties may cause
actual results to differ materially from those stated, projected or implied by
any forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, risks and
uncertainties affecting Ashland that are described in its most recent Form 10-K
(including Item 1A Risk Factors) filed with the SEC, which is available on
Ashland's website at investor.ashland.com or on the SEC's website at
www.sec.gov. Ashland believes its expectations and assumptions are reasonable,
but there can be no assurance that the expectations reflected herein will be
achieved. Ashland undertakes no obligation to subsequently update any forward-
looking statements made in this news release or otherwise except as required by
securities or other applicable law.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Media Relations
Gary Rhodes
+1 (859) 815-3047
glrhodes@ashland.com

Investor Relations
David Neuberger
+1 (859) 815-4454
daneuberger@ashland.com


 



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