Ashland sells Water Technologies business for $1.8 bilion
Mary Page Bailey
Ashland Inc. (Covington, Ky.; www.ashland.com) has announced it has signed a definitive agreement to sell Ashland Water Technologies to a fund managed by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice in a transaction valued at approximately $1.8 billion. The transaction is expected to close by September 30, 2014, contingent on certain customary regulatory approvals, standard closing conditions and completion of required employee information and consultation processes.
The company expects net proceeds from the sale to total approximately $1.4 billion, which primarily will be used to return capital to shareholders in the form of share repurchases. In keeping with this intent, Ashland's board of directors has authorized a $1.35 billion common stock repurchase program, effective immediately. This new authorization replaces Ashland's previous $600 million buyback program, which had approximately $450 million remaining. The new repurchase program will expire December 31, 2015. With annual sales of $1.7 billion and approximately 3,000 employees worldwide, Water Technologies is a leading supplier of specialty chemicals and services to the pulp and paper and industrial water markets.