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PE firm to buy Ashland’s marine services business

Ashland has signed a definitive agreement to sell its global marine services business, known for many years as Drew Marine, to private equity firm J. F.

Ashland has signed a definitive agreement to sell its global marine services business, known for many years as Drew Marine, to private equity firm J. F. Lehman in a transaction valued at approximately USD120m before tax.

Ashland’s after-tax proceeds will be used to reduce debt.

“This transaction will be a win for all parties,” says James J. O’Brien, Ashland chairman and chief executive officer. “For Ashland, this reflects our strategy to strengthen our core specialty chemical businesses while reducing our investment in non-core or non-strategic businesses. For J. F. Lehman, the acquisition of Drew Marine represents an opportunity to acquire a leading global brand with strong market positions and prospects for growth. I believe the outlook for the marine business and its employees will be much stronger as part of an organisation that is targeting growth in the maritime industry.”

“We are extremely excited with the prospect of owning the Drew Marine business and anticipate welcoming their employees to the J.F. Lehman family. We are confident this transaction will prove beneficial for all constituents involved,” says John F. Lehman, chairman, J.F. Lehman.

With revenues of approximately USD140m a year, the Drew Marine business has approximately 325 employees, 28 offices and 98 stocking locations in 47 countries. The business provides technical solutions, products and services to the global marine industry, including chemicals and testing equipment; water treatment, tank cleaners and corrosion inhibitors; sealing and welding products; refrigerants and refrigeration services; engineered systems and products; fuel management programmes; and fire safety and rescue products and services.

The transaction is expected to close within 60 days, conditioned upon a number of standard closing conditions.

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