Ashland sells marine services business

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Ashland Inc. signed an agreement to sell its global marine services business, known as Drew Marine, to J. F. Lehman & Co, a private equity firm focused on the defense, aerospace and maritime sectors.

The transaction, valued at about $120 million before taxes, is expected to close within 60 days. Ashland's after-tax proceeds will be used to reduce debt.

"This transaction will be a win for all parties," said James J. O'Brien, Ashland chairman and CEO, in a statement. "For Ashland, this reflects our strategy to strengthen our core specialty chemical businesses while reducing our investment in non-core or non-strategic businesses."

"Drew Marine represents an outstanding fit with our established investment criteria," said Louis N. Mintz, a partner with Lehman & Co.

With revenues of about $140 million a year, Drew Marine 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 programs; and fire safety and rescue products and services.

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