The Ashland Refining Company is founded in Ashland, Ky., USA, as the refining arm of the Swiss Oil Company, of Lexington, Ky., USA. Paul G. Blazer is named general manager of the refinery in Catlettsburg, in northeastern Kentucky.
Ashland Refining is merged with Swiss Oil to form Ashland Oil & Refining Company. Paul G. Blazer is named president and CEO. Sales are $4.8 million.
Sales have grown to $12 million by the time the U.S. enters World War II. During the war, a new refinery in Catlettsburg, Ky., USA, is built to produce 100-octane aviation fuel.
Ashland brand is born
For the first time, products are sold under the Ashland™ brand. Sales rise to $20.4 million.
Valvoline brand is acquired
The Freedom-Valvoline Oil Company is purchased. Less than three decades later, the Valvoline™ brand would boast a sales increase of more than 900 percent.
Success in petrochemicals
The success of our petrochemicals business fuels growth and leads to the acquisition of the R.J. Brown Co. of St. Louis, Mo., USA, the manufacturer of Bronoco petrochemicals. Sales grow to nearly $280 million.
Racing to the top
The Valvoline™ brand begins its ascent to the top of the lubricants world with more employees, infrastructure investments and national advertising. The brand appears in motorsports, a commitment that remains unbroken.
Going on the road
Ashland enters the highway construction and materials market with its purchase of Warren Brothers, the founding business of Ashland Paving And Construction, Inc. Our sales reach $699 million.
Ashland Chemical is formed
Following the purchase of ADM Chemical Group, Ashland Chemical is formed as a division and becomes a leading U.S. chemical supplier.
A 10-digit milestone
Ashland's sales surpass $1 billion for the first time.
Ashland Petroleum is formed
The company’s largest operating division, Ashland Petroleum, is formed. In the same year, Arch Mineral, a coal-extraction joint venture, is also launched.
Ashland Oil, Inc. is created
Shareholders approve changing the company name to Ashland Oil, Inc. A refinery purchase adds the SuperAmerica gas station and convenience store chain to the company’s holdings.
Shifting away from refining
A new profitability strategy includes an emphasis on growth in nonrefining businesses. Acquisitions include water treatment businesses. Sales are up to $9.5 billion.
An instant hit
Valvoline Instant Oil Change™ is established in the vehicle quick-lube business with 70 units. Today it is the second-largest franchised quick-lube business in the United States with more than 880 locations.
Distribution business grows
Ashland acquires most of Unocal’s chemical distribution business, becoming North America’s leading distributor of chemicals and solvents.
One cool acquisition
Zerex™ vehicle antifreeze and coolant, the No. 2 brand in the U.S., is added to the Valvoline™ product lineup. Sales reach $10.3 billion.
Ashland Inc. is created
Shareholders approve changing the company’s name to Ashland Inc. to better reflect our diverse operations. This same year, more than $368 million is invested in 14 acquisitions to strengthen related energy and chemical businesses.
MAP for the future
Ashland and Marathon Oil merge their petroleum refining and marketing assets into a joint venture. Meanwhile, Eagle One™ auto appearance products join the Valvoline™ brand lineup.
75 and growing strong
Ashland celebrates its 75th anniversary. The company relocates its headquarters from Ashland, Ky., USA, to Covington, Ky., USA, adjacent to Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.
Ashland introduces Envirez™ resin, the first commercially available unsaturated polyester resin containing a significant quantity of renewable materials.
Setting the stage
Ashland reorganizes into two sectors, Chemical and Transportation Construction. This lays the foundation for the company’s transformation into a global specialty chemical company.
Exit from petroleum refining
Ashland divests its joint-venture oil and refining business to partner Marathon Oil, and also acquires Car Brite™, a leading marketer of professional auto reconditioning products. Sales are $9.3 billion.
A focused approach
The transformation into a specialty chemical company continues. Northwest Coatings, a technical leader in the development of innovative water-based and energy-curable adhesives and coatings, is acquired and Ashland Paving And Construction, Inc. is sold.
Ashland acquires Hercules
Ashland acquires Hercules Incorporated in a $3.3-billion transaction. The deal moves us into the top tier of global specialty chemical companies.
More customer care
The Nanjing Technical Center opens in China. The applications lab supports customers in the coatings, construction, energy, food, personal care and industrial specialties markets. Sales reach $8.1 billion.
New plant opens in Nanjing
Natrosol™ hydroxyethylcellulose rolls off the line at a new plant in Nanjing, China. We also launch a global joint venture in foundry chemicals with Süd-Chemie AG.
We continue to sharpen our focus as a high-performing specialty chemical company, acquiring well-respected International Specialty Products Inc. and selling Ashland Distribution.
New technical centers are opened in China, Germany and India to support customers in the personal care, pharmaceuticals and food and beverage markets.
Close to our customers
Our global footprint grows again as new labs open in Texas, to support the oil and gas industry, and in Delaware, for lithium-ion battery customers. In addition, a gelcoats production plant opens in Changzhou, China.
Redefining good chemistry
Every day, we set the standard for good chemistry and all of the great things it creates around the world.
What we do today bears little resemblance to the reason our company was founded in 1924. However, in one very important way, we have remained true to our heritage over the intervening decades. While we have grown and changed from a small refinery in eastern Kentucky to a leading global specialty chemical company with customers in more than 100 countries, we have been – and always will be – as much about the relationships between people as we are about the relationships between chemicals.
With fiscal 2012 sales of approximately $8.2 billion, Ashland is a member of the Fortune 500* and S&P Midcap 400*. We provide specialty chemicals, technologies and insights through four commercial units: Ashland Specialty Ingredients, Ashland Water Technologies, Ashland Performance Materials and Ashland Consumer Markets (Valvoline).