Ashland Invests in Specialty Chemicals Expansion

07.04.2015 -

Ashland Specialty Ingredients is investing about $89 million over the next three years to increase production of specialty chemicals at its facility in Hopewell, Virginia, US. The majority of the investment will be spent on raising production of two key product lines - Natrosol hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC), used as a thickener in latex paints, and Klucel hydroxypropylcellulose (HPC), used to enable time-release delivery in pharmaceutical tablet binders and coatings, among others.

Capacity for Natrosol will be expanded by 4,700 t/y, or 40%, and that for Klucel by about 50%. Work is expected to start in the summer. As a result of the expansion, Ashland expects to add around 17 new jobs to the plant's current total of 237.

Luis Fernandez-Moreno, senior vice president of Ashland, and president of Ashland Specialty Ingredients, said: "We see good opportunities for growth in these core product lines and this expansion will ensure we are in a strong position to capitalize on those opportunities."

"This expansion is consistent with our strategy of investing in higher-margin core businesses where we see improving demand," added Kevin Willis, Ashland senior vice president and chief financial officer.

The state of Virginia said it will support the investment with a $700,000 grant as well as other benefits and Services.