Ashland Inc. has announced the signing of a definitive agreement with Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. for an asset purchase of its pressure-sensitive adhesive business and its atmospheric emulsions business. The $92 million transaction includes manufacturing facilities in Elkton, MD, and Piedmont, SC. The purchased operations, which will merge into Ashland’s Specialty Polymers & Adhesives (SP&A) business group, had sales of $126 million in 2007, principally in North America.

Approximately 80 employees will transfer to Ashland upon closing of the acquisition, expected by June 30, dependent upon a number of standard closing conditions, including regulatory review.

“This is a highly desirable strategic fit with our resins growth platform and our present business in the adhesives and coatings market space,” said James J. O’Brien, Ashland’s chairman and chief executive officer. “It meets our objectives for adding scale in a targeted segment that has expectations for above-average growth and attractive margins.”

“This transaction positions Ashland as a top-tier pressure-sensitive adhesives manufacturer,” said Marcello Boldrini, vice president, Ashland Performance Materials, and general manager, SP&A. “The water-based emulsion technology from Air Products nicely complements our established solutions technologies and our more recent UV/EB technologies that came to us through the Northwest Coatings acquisition about a year ago.”

Boldrini said the acquired operations include both acrylic and polyvinyl acetate (PVAc) technologies supporting Ashland’s sales into paper and film labels, adhesives and sealants, pulp and paper, coatings, and woodworking industries.

Ashland Specialty Polymers & Adhesives, a business group of Ashland Performance Materials, is a global leader in pressure-sensitive and structural adhesives for the packaging and converting, building and construction, and transportation industries.

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