Ashland Inc. : Ashland Inc. reports preliminary financial results for second quarter of 2013

 Ashland Inc. : Ashland Inc. reports preliminary financial results for second
                               quarter of 2013

Earnings from continuing  operations equal $0.68  per diluted share;  adjusted 
EPS, excluding key items, is $1.78 per diluted share



COVINGTON, Ky.  - Ashland  Inc.  (NYSE: ASH),  a  global leader  in  specialty 
chemical solutions  for  consumer  and  industrial  markets,  today  announced 
preliminary^(1) financial results for  the quarter ended  March 31, 2013,  the 
second quarter of its 2013 fiscal year.

Quarterly Highlights

(in millions except per-share amounts)                     Quarter Ended
                                                         March 31
                                                             2013      2012
Operating income                                         $    205   $  179
Key items*                                                  23      42
Adjusted operating income*                         $    228   $  221
Adjusted EBITDA*                                         $    339   $  329
Diluted earnings per share (EPS)
From net income                                       $   0.66   $ 1.10
From continuing operations                            $   0.68   $ 1.13
Key items*                                             1.10     0.39
   AdjustedEPSfromcontinuingoperations*     $   1.78   $ 1.52
Cash flows provided by operating activities
 from continuing operations                             $    158   $  210
Free cash flow*                                               144      155
*    See Tables 5, 6 and 7 for definitions and U.S. GAAP
reconciliations.

Ashland reported income from  continuing operations of  $55 million, or  $0.68 
per diluted share, on  sales of $2.0 billion.  These results included  several 
key  items  that  together  reduced  income  from  continuing  operations   by 
approximately $88 million,  net of tax,  or $1.10 per  diluted share. The  two 
largest key items  were related to  debt refinancing during  the quarter.  The 
company  incurred  a  $34  million  after-tax  cash  expense  related  to  the 
termination of interest-rate swaps and a $32 million after-tax non-cash charge
related to accelerated debt issuance and other costs. Excluding all key items,
Ashland's adjusted earnings per share rose 17 percent, to $1.78, when compared
to the year-ago quarter.

For the year-ago quarter, Ashland  reported income from continuing  operations 
of $90 million,  or $1.13 per  diluted share,  on sales of  $2.1 billion.  The 
year-ago results included three key items that had a combined negative  effect 
of $31 million, net  of tax, or  39 cents per  diluted share. Excluding  these 
items, adjusted income from continuing  operations was $121 million, or  $1.52 
per diluted share.  (Please refer  to Table  5 of  the accompanying  financial 
statements for details of key items in both periods.)

For the remainder of this news  release, financial results exclude the  effect 
of key  items in  both the  current and  prior-year quarters.  On this  basis, 
Ashland's results as compared to the year-ago quarter were as follows:

  *Sales were $2.0 billion, a decline of 5 percent;

  *Operating income increased 3 percent to $228 million; 

  *Earnings before interest,  taxes, depreciation  and amortization  (EBITDA) 
    increased 3 percent to $339 million; and

  *EBITDA as a percent of sales increased 140 basis points to 17.2 percent.

"We faced a  number of challenges  in the second  quarter, including  economic 
weakness in several key regions, particularly Europe," said James J.  O'Brien, 
Ashland chairman and  chief executive  officer. "Each of  our four  commercial 
units reported year-over-year declines  in sales in the  face of soft  demand. 
From a sequential standpoint, our  performance was more encouraging. Sales  at 
Ashland Specialty  Ingredients  grew  10  percent  compared  to  the  December 
quarter. Ashland Water Technologies' performance has stabilized, and we expect
continued improvement going  forward. Ashland  Performance Materials  improved 
from the December  quarter, with gains  in sales and  volumes consistent  with 
seasonality. Ashland  Consumer  Markets  turned  in  another  strong  earnings 
performance, both sequentially and year-over-year, as lower raw-material costs
drove significant  gains  in  EBITDA.  During  the  second  quarter,  we  also 
strengthened our  capital  structure by  restructuring  our debt  to  lock  in 
attractive interest  rates, extend  our  maturity schedule  and put  in  place 
investment-grade covenants."

Business Segment Performance
In order to aid understanding  of Ashland's ongoing business performance,  the 
results of  Ashland's business  segments are  described below  on an  adjusted 
basis and EBITDA,  or adjusted EBITDA,  is reconciled to  operating income  in 
Table 7 of this news release.

Ashland Specialty  Ingredients' sales  totaled $682  million, a  decline of  6 
percent when  compared to  a year  ago. EBITDA  declined 16  percent, to  $156 
million, while EBITDA as a percent of  sales was 22.9 percent, down 280  basis 
points versus the year-ago quarter.
The EBITDA decline was driven primarily from selling straight-guar  inventory, 
which was written down  to market value  in the first quarter  and sold at  no 
margin in the second quarter.  In addition, Specialty Ingredients  experienced 
lower volumes in the intermediates and solvents business, which accounted  for 
the majority  of  Specialty  Ingredients'  overall  decline  in  the  quarter. 
Specialty Ingredients'  non-guar  energy business  performed  well with  a  33 
percent increase in sales versus the prior-year quarter. Sales and volumes  in 
personal care were  flat year over  year, with  growth in hair  and oral  care 
offset by home and  skin care. On a  sequential basis, Specialty  Ingredients' 
EBITDA rose 34 percent and EBITDA margin increased 430 basis points.

Ashland Water Technologies reported  sales of $424 million  in the March  2013 
quarter, a decline  of 1 percent  from the year-ago  quarter. Normalizing  for 
currency effects and adjusting  for divestitures, sales would  have been up  1 
percent. EBITDA was flat at $39 million. EBITDA as a percent of sales was  9.2 
percent, up 10 basis points. On a sequential basis, EBITDA rose 15 percent and
EBITDA margin increased  110 basis  points. During the  second quarter,  Water 
Technologies' paper  business reported  improved  results. Two-thirds  of  the 
paper business' sales  come from the  growing tissue and  towel and  packaging 
markets, where  Ashland  is  a global  leader.  However,  Water  Technologies' 
industrial water business,  which includes  both utility  water and  municipal 
wastewater treatment, has faced continuing  challenges. A new management  team 
with proven success in this space has been brought in to drive top-line growth
and improved  execution. In  March, Water  Technologies reorganized  into  two 
global business units -  pulp and paper chemicals,  and industrial water -  to 
simplify the organization, sharpen the strategic focus and improve execution.

Ashland Performance Materials  reported sales  of $374  million, an  8-percent 
decrease compared to  a year ago.  EBITDA declined 6  percent to $33  million, 
while EBITDA  as a  percent of  sales grew  20 basis  points to  8.8  percent. 
Overall volumes were down 6 percent  from the year-ago quarter, primarily  due 
to  lower  demand  for  elastomers  resulting  from  a  weak  North   American 
replacement  tire  market.  During  the  quarter,  volume  in  adhesives   and 
composites increased  9 percent  sequentially, primarily  reflecting  seasonal 
improvement in North America. 

Ashland Consumer Markets reported record second-quarter income driven by lower
raw-material costs and  improved results  across nearly every  segment of  the 
business, with particularly strong results in Valvoline Instant Oil  Change^SM 
and in Valvoline's International business. Although lubricant volumes declined
4 percent  on a  year-over-year basis,  they rose  6 percent  on a  sequential 
basis. While year-over-year sales decreased 5 percent to $494 million,  EBITDA 
rose 33 percent to $88 million. EBITDA as a percent of sales was 17.8 percent,
an increase of 510 basis points versus the year-ago quarter.

After excluding the effects from key  items, Ashland's effective tax rate  for 
the March 2013 quarter was 24  percent. Ashland now expects the effective  tax 
rate for the full 2013 fiscal year to be in the range of 25-27 percent.

"Despite facing soft demand and economic challenges in a number of markets, we
were able to increase adjusted earnings  per share by 17 percent and  generate 
$144 million in  free cash during  the quarter," O'Brien  said. "Overall,  our 
Specialty  Ingredients  business  held  up   well  during  a  tough   economic 
environment and  Water  Technologies has  stabilized.  Performance  Materials' 
adhesive and  composites businesses  benefited from  an increase  in  seasonal 
demand and Consumer Markets turned in another great quarter." 

Outlook
In late 2011,  Ashland outlined  a plan  to increase  earnings to  a range  of 
$9.50-$10.50 per share and to grow EBITDA to $1.7 billion by fiscal 2014. That
three-year plan  was based  on business  forecasts  as well  as a  variety  of 
assumptions related  to  global  economic  growth,  market  demand  and  other 
factors.

"We are now halfway through that three-year plan and the reality is that  some 
of those  expectations,  particularly  those related  to  growth  in  emerging 
markets, have not materialized. As a  result, our recent performance has  been 
below target," O'Brien explained. "In light of the broader economic challenges
and market softness Ashland is  facing in a number  of key regions around  the 
world, it is  now unlikely  that we  will be able  to achieve  that range  for 
earnings per share or EBITDA."  

He said that  while fiscal  2013 is  shaping up  to be  more challenging  than 
originally expected, Ashland's strategic focus has not changed.

"We will continue to  look for ways  to drive improvements  that will lead  to 
sustained sales and earnings growth. Since beginning our transformation into a
specialty chemical company in 2004, we have executed our strategy of acquiring
higher-margin  businesses  with  strong  growth  potential,  while   divesting 
cyclical  or  underperforming   businesses  and  returning   capital  to   our 
shareholders. As  a result,  we  have dramatically  reshaped the  company  and 
positioned Ashland  for  long-term  success.  We  remain  fully  committed  to 
unlocking value and generating significant returns for Ashland  shareholders," 
O'Brien said.  

Conference Call Webcast
Ashland will host a  live webcast of its  second-quarter conference call  with 
securities analysts at 9 a.m. EDT  Wednesday, April 24, 2013. The webcast  and 
supporting  materials  will  be   accessible  through  Ashland's  website   at 
http://investor.ashland.com. Following the live event, an archived version  of 
the webcast and supporting materials will be available for 12 months.

Use of Non-GAAP Measures
This news  release includes  certain non-GAAP  (Generally Accepted  Accounting 
Principles) measures. Such  measurements are not  prepared in accordance  with 
GAAP and  should  not be  construed  as  an alternative  to  reported  results 
determined in  accordance  with GAAP.  Management  believes the  use  of  such 
non-GAAP measures  assists investors  in understanding  the ongoing  operating 
performance of the company and its segments. The non-GAAP information provided
may not be  consistent with  the methodologies  used by  other companies.  All 
non-GAAP amounts have been reconciled with reported GAAP results in Tables  5, 
6 and 7 of the financial statements provided with this news release.

About Ashland
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, food  and 
beverage,  personal  care,  pharmaceutical,   tissue  and  towel,  and   water 
treatment. Visit ashland.com to see the innovations we offer through our  four 
commercial units - Ashland Specialty Ingredients, Ashland Water  Technologies, 
Ashland Performance Materials and Ashland Consumer Markets.
- 0 -

C-ASH

Forward-Looking Statements
This news release  contains forward-looking statements  within the meaning  of 
Section 27A of the Securities  Act of 1933 and  Section 21E of the  Securities 
Exchange Act of  1934. Ashland  has identified some  of these  forward-looking 
statements  with   words  such   as  "anticipates,"   "believes,"   "expects," 
"estimates," "may," "will," "should" and "intends" and the negatives of  these 
words or other comparable terminology. In  addition, Ashland may from time  to 
time make forward-looking statements  in its filings  with the Securities  and 
Exchange  Commission  (SEC),  news  releases   and  other  written  and   oral 
communications.  These  forward-looking  statements  are  based  on  Ashland's 
expectations and  assumptions,  as  of  the date  such  statements  are  made, 
regarding Ashland's future operating performance and financial condition,  the 
economy and other future events  or circumstances. Ashland's expectations  and 
assumptions include, without  limitation, internal forecasts  and analyses  of 
current  and  future  market  conditions  and  trends,  management  plans  and 
strategies, operating efficiencies  and economic conditions  (such as  prices, 
supply and  demand,  cost  of  raw  materials,  and  the  ability  to  recover 
raw-material  cost  increases   through  price  increases),   and  risks   and 
uncertainties   associated   with   the   following:   Ashland's   substantial 
indebtedness (including  the possibility  that such  indebtedness and  related 
restrictive covenants  may  adversely  affect  Ashland's  future  cash  flows, 
results of operations,  financial condition  and its ability  to repay  debt), 
severe weather, natural disasters, and legal proceedings and claims (including
environmental and asbestos matters). Various risks and uncertainties may cause
actual results to differ materially from those stated, projected or implied by
any forward-looking  statements,  including,  without  limitation,  risks  and 
uncertainties affecting Ashland  that are  described in its  most recent  Form 
10-K (including Item 1A Risk Factors)  filed with the SEC, which is  available 
on Ashland's website at http://investor.ashland.com or on the SEC's website at
www.sec.gov. Ashland believes its expectations and assumptions are reasonable,
but there can be no assurance  that the expectations reflected herein will  be 
achieved.  Ashland  undertakes  no  obligation  to  subsequently  update   any 
forward-looking statements made in  this news release  or otherwise except  as 
required by securities or other applicable law.

^(1) Preliminary Results
Financial results are preliminary  until Ashland's Form  10-Q for the  quarter 
ended March 31, 2013, is filed with the SEC.

^SMService mark, Ashland or its subsidiaries, registered in various countries

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:

Investor Relations:
Jason Thompson   
+1 (859) 815-4454
jlthompson@ashland.com

Media Relations:
Gary Rhodes   
+1 (859) 815-3047   
glrhodes@ashland.com

Ashland Financial Tables

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Source: Ashland Inc. via Thomson Reuters ONE
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