Valvoline Files for IPO as Parent Shifts Focus to Chemicals

  • Share sale of oil-change retailer targeted for fourth quarter
  • Parent company to rename itself Ashland Global Holdings Inc.

Valvoline Inc., the second-largest U.S. operator of oil-change stores, filed to sell stock in an initial public offering as parent Ashland Inc. sharpens its focus on specialty chemicals.

The sale of as much as 20 percent of Valvoline shares is being targeted for the fourth quarter with the rest of the stock to be distributed later to Ashland shareholders, the Covington, Kentucky-based chemical maker said in a statement Tuesday. Subject to investor approval, Ashland will reincorporate in Delaware as Ashland Global Holdings Inc. to minimize separation-related taxes.

The Valvoline IPO, which was first announced in September, is the latest phase of a decade-long transformation in which Ashland has sold a stake in an oil refiner and disposed of a road-paving business and a chemical-distribution operation. The company, led since last year by Chief Executive Officer William Wulfsohn, has also bought makers of specialty chemicals such as those used in pharmaceuticals, hair gels and anti-wrinkle products.

Valvoline, which had net income last year of $196.1 million on sales of $1.97 billion, traces its history to the discovery in 1866 that crude oil makes a good lubricant, according to a filing. Valvoline was trademarked six years later and was subsequently recommended for use in the Ford Model T.

The company sells lubricants through 1,050 Valvoline branded quick-lube franchises and company-owned stores, more than 30,000 retailers and 12,000 car dealers, repair shops and competing quick lube outlets. Division President Sam Mitchell was named as Valvoline CEO in September when plans for the IPO were first announced.

The new company will be based in Lexington, Kentucky, and will trade under the ticker symbol VVV.

The IPO managers are Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley.

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