Ashland Inc. will merge its Ashland Casting Solutions business unit into a new global venture, together with the operations of Germany’s Sud-Chemie AG and the two groups’ existing joint venture, Ashland-Sudchemie-Kernfest. The new company will be called ASK Chemicals GmbH and headquartered in Hilden, Germany.
According to Ashland Inc. chairman and CEO James J. O'Brien, expanding the existing joint-venture, "creates significant opportunities for both partners. The product offerings and geographic footprints of these companies are very complementary to one another, giving this new joint venture the benefit of well-established channels to market and a much more comprehensive portfolio of metal casting additives and consumables with which to serve customers worldwide."
ASK Chemicals will offer resins, binding agents, finishing tools, additives, feeder heads, filters, separating agents, metallurgical additives and cores to metalcasters in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. It will have approximately 1,300 employees drawn from three current enterprises.
The plan is the latest iteration of a merger proposed over two years ago but never finalized. In a joint news release, Ashland and Sud-Chemie indicated they have reached a contractual agreement on the formation of the new venture — to be known as ASK Chemicals GmbH — in which each will hold a 50% stake with Sud-Chemie as the managing partner. The transaction is expected to close at the end of 2010.
Dr. Gunter von Au, managing board chairman of Sud-Chemie AG, said combining their asset will improve the customer-service capabilities in established markets (Europe, North America) and in emerging industrial markets (China, India, Brazil.): "Together, we shall be in a better position to meet the high technological demands of our worldwide customers based on innovative solutions and targeted efficiency enhancement,” von Au explained. “As a result, we will benefit more quickly from the growth potential offered in the foundry sector."
The list of operations to be combined into the ASK Chemicals GmbH includes: Ashland Casting Solutions assets in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, China, Japan, the U.K., Spain, Portugal, Italy, India and Korea; Sud-Chemie's Foundry Products and Specialty Resins business, including SKW Giesserei GmbH, WD-Giesserei-Technik GmbH, Tecpro Corp. Inc., Sud-Chemie Hi-Tech Ceramics Inc., Ajay Metachem Sud-Chemie Pvt. Ltd., and parts of Jiangsu Sud-Chemie Chemical Materials Co. Ltd.; and the companies belonging to the existing joint venture, Ashland-Sudchemie-Kernfest GmbH, and its subsidiaries (AS Group).