Founded in 1924 as a small refinery in eastern Kentucky, Ashland Inc. has become a global, diversified chemical company with a focus on growth. With sales and operating revenues of more than $9.3 billion in fiscal 2005, Ashland today ranks among the top 500 companies in the U.S., based on revenues. Following are some events that shaped the company into today's Ashland.
2006 - Ashland Performance Materials division's Specialty Polymers & Adhesives business group closed December 5 on the acquisition of Northwest Coatings (NWC), a technical leader in the development of innovative water-based and energy curable adhesives and coatings. In August, Ashland closed on the sale of its wholly owned subsidiary, Ashland Paving And Construction, Inc. (APAC) to Oldcastle Materials, Inc., which represents after-tax, pre-adjustment proceeds of approximately $1.25 billion. This action is a major step in Ashland's transformation into a diversified chemical company.
In July, the Performance Materials and Water Technologies businesses were repositioned as separate operating divisions within the Chemical Sector, replacing the former Ashland Specialty Chemical division. Ashland purchased the water treatment business of Degussa AG of Krefeld, Germany, at the end of May for approximately $156 million, or 122 million euros. The transaction demonstrates Ashland's continuing strategy to build shareholder value by expanding our reach in markets where we presently compete and by strengthening our in-house manufacture of key products to treat wastewater. The new acquisition will be known as Environmental and Process Solutions and operate as a business group of Ashland Water Technologies, a business of Ashland Specialty Chemical, a division of Ashland Inc. Five manufacturing facilities located in Germany, China, Brazil, Russia and the U.S. are included. In 2005, the acquired business recorded sales of nearly $250 million.
2005 - In September, R. Kirk Randolph was elected vice president of Ashland Inc. and president of APAC, reporting to O'Brien. He succeeded Garry M. Higdem. Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH ) and Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE: MRO ) on June 30 completed an agreement under which Ashland transferred its 38-percent interest in Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC ( MAP ) and two other businesses to Marathon. The two other businesses were Ashland's maleic anhydride business and 60 Valvoline Instant Oil Change (VIOC) centers in Michigan and northwest Ohio, which were valued at $94 million. After 81 years in the petroleum refining and marketing industry, Ashland Inc. became a two-sector company with operations in the chemicals and transportation construction industries. On May 31, the Valvoline division acquired Car Brite, a leading marketer of products for the U.S. professional automotive reconditioning industry, from E & A Industries of Indianapolis, Ind. On June 9th, the Valvoline division's Valvoline Instant Oil Change business unit opened its first quick-lube and preventative maintenance store in Shanghai, China.
2004 - Garry M. Higdem was named senior vice president and president of APAC, Inc. succeeding David J. D'Antoni, on Jan. 12, 2004. Ashland realigned businesses into two Sectors - Chemical and Transportation Construction - on Feb. 2, 2004. Ashland and Marathon Oil Corporation signed an agreement to transfer its 38-percent interest in Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC (MAP) to Marathon for approximately $3.0 billion. On December 29, Ashland Composite Polymers, a business group of Ashland Inc.'s Ashland Specialty Chemical division, expanded its technology assets through its purchase of the DERAKANE® epoxy vinyl ester resin business from The Dow Chemical Company, the value of which was approximately $90 million.
2003 - Gary A. Cappeline was elected senior vice president and group operating officer of Ashland Inc. and became a member of the company's Executive Committee on July 16, 2003. David J. D'Antoni was named to succeed Charles F. Potts as president of APAC, Inc. on July 22, 2003. On August 29, 2003, Ashland Inc. completed the sale of its Electronic Chemicals business group (ECD) to Air Products (NYSE:APD) in a cash transaction valued at approximately $300 million.
2002 - Ashland Chairman and CEO Paul Chellgren retired as CEO on Oct. 1, 2002 and as Chairman on Nov. 15, 2002. Chellgren was succeeded by James J. O'Brien, who has served in various capacities for Ashland, including president and chief operating officer of Ashland, senior vice president and group operating officer of Ashland Distribution and Specialty Chemical Companies, president of Valvoline, and executive assistant to former Chairman John Hall.
2000 - Ashland's board approved a plan to distribute a majority of Ashland Inc.'s shares in Arch Coal Inc. to Ashland's shareholders.
1999 - Ashland's headquarters moved to Covington, Ky., as the company observed its 75th anniversary. Ashland formed two new divisions - Ashland Distribution Company and Ashland Specialty Chemical Company - from its largest wholly owned business, Ashland Chemical Company. Later that year, Ashland completed a tender offer for Superfos a/s, a Denmark-based industrial company, retaining only the portion of the business related to U.S. construction operations. Ashland also announced plans to explore strategic alternatives for its investment in Arch Coal.
1998 - Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC began operation Jan. 1. Ashland owns 38 percent of this joint-venture company, the nation's sixth largest refiner. Valvoline acquired Eagle One Industries of Carlsbad, Calif., a producer and marketer of premium automotive appearance products. APAC acquired the Missouri-based Masters-Jackson group of construction companies, significantly improving competitive strength in Midwest markets. Arch Coal acquired ARCO's coal properties, increasing reserves and doubling production volumes.
1997 - Ashland signed definitive agreement with Marathon to combine the two companies' refining, marketing and transportation assets. Ashland sold its domestic oil and gas properties for $566 million, and the company's two coal investments merged to form Arch Coal, Inc.
1996 - Ashland Chairman and CEO John Hall announced his retirement. Hall retired as CEO Oct. 1, 1996 and as chairman effective Jan. 30, 1997. President and Chief Operating Officer Paul Chellgren succeeded Hall in both positions.
1995 - Ashland invested more than $368 million in 14 acquisitions to strengthen its related energy and chemical businesses. In addition, shareholders approved changing the company's name to Ashland Inc. to better reflect the company's diverse operations.
1994 - Ashland celebrated its 70th anniversary. Valvoline acquired Zerex, the nation's No. 2 brand of antifreeze.
1993 - Ashland Petroleum completed the major portion of a refinery capital expenditure program that enhanced refining flexibility, further reduced emissions and enabled the company to make new fuels.
1992 - Ashland Chemical acquired most of Unocal's chemical distribution business, establishing the IC&S Division as the No. 1 distributor of chemicals and solvents in North America. Ashland's annual sales surpassed $10 billion for the first time.
1991 - Ashland nearly tripled its domestic crude oil gathering capacity through the acquisition of The Permian Corporation and its merger with Scurlock Oil Company.
1990 - The $92 million acquisition of OXY USA Inc.'s Appalachian Basin natural gas properties more than doubled acreage in the area.
1986 - Ashland formed Employee Stock Ownership Plan.
1983 - RCC® Process unit at Catlettsburg refinery provided greater flexibility of crude oil slate and product mix.
1981 - New corporate strategy was adopted to strengthen refining and marketing, improve the balance sheet and build earnings from related, non-refining businesses. Ashland was reorganized as a modified holding company.
1975 - Construction division was formed, and Ashland Coal was created.
1973 - OPEC dramatically increased prices of petroleum products. Ashland Exploration entered a production-sharing agreement with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
1971 - Exploration and production activities consolidated into Ashland Exploration.
1970 - Shareholders approved changing company's name to Ashland Oil, Inc. Northwestern Refining of St. Paul, Minn., was acquired, adding a refinery and the SuperAmerica retail marketing chain.
1969 - Ashland Petroleum, the company's largest operating division, was formed. Arch Mineral, a 50-percent-owned coal affiliate, was formed.
1968 - Ashland's sales surpassed $1 billion annually.
1967 - With purchase of ADM Chemical Group, Ashland Chemical was formed, consolidating chemical manufacturing and sales operations.
1966 - Ashland entered the highway construction and construction materials business with the acquisition of Warren Brothers.
1963 - United Carbon acquisition increased involvement in chemical and petrochemical businesses.
1956 - Marketing success of specialty products focused attention on petrochemicals. Operation expanded with acquisition of R. J. Brown Company of St. Louis.
1950 - Frontier Oil Refining of Buffalo, N.Y., and National Refining of Cleveland, Ohio, joined Ashland. These acquisitions resulted in two additional refineries and a Great Lakes marketing area for Ashland.
1949 - Through Aetna Oil merger, Ashland acquired Kentucky retail marketing operation. Freedom-Valvoline merger followed, bringing Valvoline, the oldest brand motor oil, and a third refinery at Freedom, Pa.
1948 - Ashland and Allied Oil merger included Canton, Ohio, refinery and a broader marketing base.
1946 - Products were sold for the first time under the brand name "Ashland."
1942 - As part of the government's World War II effort, an aviation gasoline plant was built near the Catlettsburg refinery. The aviation fuel plant later became Ashland's No. 2 refinery.
1936 - Under Blazer's leadership, Ashland Refining merged with Swiss Oil to form Ashland Oil & Refining Company.
1931 - Acquisition of Cumberland Pipeline Company's eastern Kentucky pipeline network assured adequate supply of crude oil.
1930 - Purchase of Tri-State Refining Company increased capacity to 5,500 barrels per day.
1924 - Paul G. Blazer named general manager of Ashland Refining Company of Ashland, Ky., a refining arm of Swiss Oil Company of Lexington. Principal operation was a small refinery in Catlettsburg.
* Refers to Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requirement that hazardous wastes be tracked from origin to disposal.