Ashland begins construction on new nonionic synthetic thickener plant in Alizay, France, for the architectural coatings market; facility slated for Spring 2012 start-up

WILMINGTON, Delaware , July 15, 2011 (press release) – Ashland Aqualon Functional Ingredients, a commercial unit of Ashland Inc. (NYSE:ASH), recently began construction on a new nonionic synthetic thickener manufacturing facility in Alizay, France. The new manufacturing facility is scheduled for completion and start-up in late spring of 2012 and will significantly increase global capacity of Aquaflow(TM) nonionic synthetic associative thickeners (NSATs).

"The new facility is strategically positioned in Western Europe to shorten lead times and improve service for our customers," said Jason Homer, global business manager, Coatings Additives, Ashland Aqualon Functional Ingredients. "Europe in particular, has recently seen a dramatic increase in demand for Aquaflow NSATs. This new facility complements our existing manufacturing capacity and gives us flexibility to improve continuity of supply for all customers worldwide."

The new facility will have capability to produce the full line of low-, mid- and high-shear effective Aquaflow thickeners. "Aquaflow thickeners, which have recently gained tremendous market acceptance, provide paint manufacturers with greatly improved application properties compared to competitive technologies on the market today," said Dale MacDonald, vice president, Coatings Additives, Ashland Aqualon Functional Ingredients. "This major investment demonstrates Ashland's commitment to the market and our dedication to creating innovative rheology solutions. With Aquaflow assets positioned in the U.S. and now in Europe as well, we will be better positioned to service the needs of our global customers."

Ashland Aqualon Functional Ingredients is a leading producer of hydrocolloids, primarily cellulose ethers, worldwide. It provides specialty additives and functional ingredients that manage the physical properties of aqueous and non-aqueous systems including rheology control, water retention, bonding strength, film formation, conditioning, deposition and stabilization. Many of its products - used in paint and coatings, construction, food, personal care, pharmaceuticals, oil and gas field production and specialty industries - are derived from renewable and natural raw materials.

In more than 100 countries, the people of Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) provide the specialty chemicals, technologies and insights to help customers create new and improved products for today and sustainable solutions for tomorrow. Our chemistry is at work every day in a wide variety of markets and applications, including architectural coatings, automotive, construction, energy, personal care, pharmaceutical, tissue and towel, and water treatment. Visit www.ashland.com to see the innovations we offer through our four commercial units - Ashland Aqualon Functional Ingredients, Ashland Hercules Water Technologies, Ashland Performance Materials and Ashland Consumer Markets (Valvoline).

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