US Ashland water-tech unit improving under new leadership: CEO

24 April 2013 17:35  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Ashland’s water technologies business is improving under new leadership, but must show further growth, the CEO of the US-based specialty chemicals firm said on Wednesday.

“I am more encouraged than I was three months ago,” James O’Brien told investors during Ashland’s fiscal 2013 second-quarter results conference call.

O’Brien said that he has full confidence in Luis Fernandez-Moreno, who took over as president of Ashland water technologies late last year and brought in a new team to lead that business.

Last month, Fernandez-Moreno re-organised water technologies into two global business units – pulp-and-paper chemicals and industrial water.

O’Brien added that Ashland will continue to evaluate water technologies on a quarterly basis and discuss its future in upcoming board meetings this summer.

Ashland water technologies reported sales of $424m (€326m) for the three months ended 31 March, down 1% year on year but up 1% sequentially from the 2013 first quarter.

The segment’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were $39m, unchanged year on year, but up by 15% sequentially from $34m in the 2013 first quarter.

During the fiscal second quarter, water technologies’ paper business reported improved results. Two-thirds of the paper business’ sales came from growing tissue and towel and packaging markets, where Ashland is “a global leader”, it said.

However, water technologies’ industrial water business, which includes both utility water and municipal wastewater treatment, faced continuing challenges, the company said.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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