Ashland Global Holdings Inc. recently announced preliminary financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of its fiscal 2019, ended September 30, 2019. Sales in the fourth quarter were $609 million, down 9% compared to the 2018 fiscal fourth quarter, driven primarily by challenged results at Pharmachem and Personal Care, plus weaker industrial end-market demand within the Specialty Ingredients segment.

“During the quarter and fiscal year, we faced more challenging external conditions than anticipated,” said Bill Wulfsohn, chairman and CEO. “Despite these challenges, during fiscal year 2019 we took action to grow adjusted earnings per share by 14 percent, improve adjusted EBITDA margins by 140 basis points and increase adjusted EBITDA by 3 percent. These gains were primarily driven by the impact of Ashland’s $120 million cost-reduction program. In addition, during the quarter we also completed the sale of the Composites business and Marl BDO facility while reducing debt by $940 million. The sale completes the company’s decade-long journey to become a pure-play specialty ingredients company.

“I thank the Ashland team for their support and hard work which was essential to all we have accomplished over the past five years. Together we have created a premier specialty ingredients company. Now is the right time for a leadership change and I am confident that Guillermo Novo is the right chairman and CEO to lead the Ashland team on its journey to realize the company’s full potential.”

“I am incredibly excited to join the Ashland team and have already been hard at work,” said Guillermo Novo, current Ashland director and incoming chairman and CEO. “I want to thank Bill for all of his support during this transition and I look forward to sharing my initial thoughts on the journey ahead during our conference call with securities analysts tomorrow morning.”

In the Specialty Ingredients segment, sales were $579 million in the 2019 fourth fiscal quarter, down 9% from the prior-year quarter, due to challenged results at Pharmachem and Personal Care, plus weaker industrial end-market demand. Unfavorable foreign currency reduced sales by 1%. In Intermediates & Solvents, sales were $30 million, down 3% from the prior-year quarter, due to changing market-demand dynamics.

During fiscal year 2019, Ashland generated sales of $2.5 billion, down 4% compared to the prior year. Strong results in pharma and consistent results in Coatings and Adhesives were more than offset by the Colgate-Gantrez reformulation within Personal Care, challenges at Pharmachem, and general weakness throughout the year in industrial end markets.

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