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Ashland to sell unit

During its Q4 earnings update, Ashland announced plans for a series of “portfolio optimisation actions to further strengthen the company’s resilience and improve margins and returns in this uncertain environment”. These are expected to improve adjusted EBITDA margins by about 2% and returns on net assets by 1.5-2%.

Solenis chooses home turf for R&D expansion

Aided by $4 million in state grant funds, Solenis is to move its R&D operations to Building 713 at Chestnut Run Innovation & Science Park (CRISP, pictured) in its home state of Delaware. This $40 million expansion comes “in response to increasing market demand for its sustainability-focused products and expertise and with an eye toward long-term growth”, the company said.

Solenis for sale?

According to a report on Bloomberg that cited unnamed people involved, BASF and its private equity partner, Clayton Dubilier & Rice  (CD&R), are considering an exit from water treatment specialist Solenis and have been in talks with several special purpose acquisition companies. A price in the region of $5 billion is reportedly being sought. Neither party has commented on this speculation.

Ashland reviews adhesives

Ashland is to carry out strategic review of its Performance Adhesives business unit, with a sale among the options, aided by Citi. This is expected to be complete by the end of the year. CEO Guillermo Novo said that the business has “demonstrated exceptional financial performance” and that a combination of available finance, low interest rates and improving global macroeconomic conditions should “create a supportive backdrop” for the sale.

Solvay, Ashland complete buys

Two recent acquisitions that are both largely focused in the personal care arena were both completed almost simultaneously. Solvay completed the sale of its amphoteric surfactant business to OpenGate Capital, while Ashland finalised that of the personal care business of Schülke & Mayr from investment firm EQT.

Feature Article - Quietly weathering the storm

Carolyn Buller of Squire Patton Boggs takes a look back at a year like no other in chemicals

Squire Patton Boggs (SPB), a global law firm, has about one third of the top 60 chemical companies as clients and is constantly speaking with the industry about ongoing trends. The COVID-19 pandemic has made forecasting an even more treacherous business than ever and it is always hard to generalise over so broad a concept as speciality chemicals. ‘Specialities’ are a never-ending game – everything is or was a speciality until, one day, it no longer is.

Ashland makes board changes in fight against ‘activist’

Speciality chemicals giant Ashland has announced that, in consultation with one of its largest shareholders, the independent investment manager Neuberger Berman, it will add two new independent board members – yet to be found - and appoint a lead independent director and new board committee chairs at its annual meeting on 8 February.

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