Adjusting for the impact of key items in both the 2010 and 2009 quarters, Ashland’s results for the quarter ending 30 June 2010 were as follows:

  • sales increased 16% over the same period of 2009 to $2,362 million;
  • adjusted operating income of $163 million versus $168 million for the 2009 quarter; and
  • adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of $237 million, compared with $248 million for the 2009 quarter.

Key Items included a $20 million aftertax gain from Ashland's buyout in April of its Brazilian composites joint venture Ara Quimica.

Commenting on Ashland's adjusted results for the quarter ending 30 June 2010, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James J. O’Brien said: “We delivered another quarter of solid results. All of our commercial units achieved year-over-year volume and sales increases, on a comparable basis. Even with significant, rising raw material costs that compressed margins, we generated $237 million of EBITDA. Also during the June quarter, our board of directors doubled the dividend rate, reflecting confidence in our solid financial position and future cash-generating ability."

The Ashland Performance Materials business – which includes the Composite Polymers unit – saw sales rise 39% versus the 2009 quarter, to $357 million, and 17% growth sequentially. Excluding the results of Ara Quimica (the Brazilian composites joint venture of which Ashland acquired its partner's 50% interest in April), sales were still up 34% over the 2009 quarter and 13% sequentially. In total, EBITDA increased to $24 million in the 2010 quarter, a 20% increase over the 2009 quarter and a 33% increase sequentially.

Ashland's Composite Polymers business supplies resins and gel-coats for the fibre reinforced plastics (FRP) and cast polymer industries.

Outlook

Commenting on Ashland’s outlook, O’Brien said: "As we consider the next few quarters, we anticipate sustained, gradual growth of the overall economy. We continue to see growth in both volume and sales. Ultimately, as the economy grows, our businesses are leveraged to benefit significantly from an improving demand environment."

Ashland Inc (NYSE: ASH) is a speciality chemicals company headquartered in Covington, Kentucky, USA.