Ashland Plans to Merge Casting Solutions into Global JV

New organization would unite ACS with related units of Sd-Chemie

Ashland Casting Solutions is due to be combined into a global enterprise with the foundry-related businesses of Süd-Chemie AG and the businesses of the two partners’ current joint venture, Ashland-Südchemie-Kernfest GmbH (ASK). Ashland Inc. and Süd-Chemie have signed a nonbinding “memorandum of understanding” to form the new venture, with each partner holding a 50% stake.

The new venture will be headquartered in Venlo, The Netherlands. Ashland’s statement indicates that the combined assets generated sales of approximately $1.1 billion in 2007, and have about 1,300 employees. The new venture would be launched in early 2009, pending successful completion of consolidation agreements, regulatory reviews, and other closing conditions.

ACS is the Ashland Inc. division that supplies binder resins, refractory and ceramic coatings, mold release agents, sand additives, and riser sleeves, as well as casting simulation and core/tooling modeling software. It is headquartered in Dublin, OH.

Süd-Chemie AG specialty chemicals company is headquartered in Munich. Together with Ashland, it formed ASK in 1970.

The new enterprise would combine Ashland Casting Solutions with Süd-Chemie’s foundry-related sales, marketing, technology, and some manufacturing operations, as well as the current ASK organization. “When you consider the rapid industrialization occurring within key markets like China, Eastern Europe, Brazil, and India, it is easy to recognize the strong growth opportunities that exist for the metal casting industry,” stated Ashland Inc. chairman and CEO James J. O’Brien.

Dr. Günter von Au, managing board chairman of Süd-Chemie AG, stated: "Global competition is forcing us to create location networks in all important markets. By forming this new, globally active company, we shall be in a better position to satisfy our customers wishes as these become increasingly more sophisticated and more closely aligned on an international scale.”

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