Ashland’s Valvoline Gains After Raising $660 Million in Its IPO

Valvoline Inc., the maker of automotive lubricant and motor oils, gained in its trading debut after raising $660 million in an initial public offering.

The stock climbed 7.3 percent to $23.60 at 1:44 p.m. in New York, giving the Lexington, Kentucky-based company a market value of $4.7 billion. Valvoline sold 30 million shares for $22 apiece after offering them for $20 to $23 a share, according to a statement.

The company’s parent, Ashland Global Holdings Inc., will benefit from taking its business unit public. Valvoline expects to use the proceeds from the IPO to pay down existing debt. Once that’s achieved, Valvoline plans to borrow about $980 million and transfer the proceeds to its parent company, according to the deal prospectus.

While Ashland will hold about 85 percent of Valvoline after the IPO, according to the filing, it plans to spin off its stake to shareholders in a tax-free transaction after an 180-day lockup period. Ashland has been seeking to refine its focus on specialty chemicals, with the Valvoline IPO marking a step in that direction.

Valvoline, which traces its roots to 1866, is the second-largest U.S. operator of oil-change stores. It has 1,050 branded franchised and company-owned lube store locations and sells its products to thousands of other retailers. The locations compete with the likes of Shell Oil Co.’s Jiffy Lube.

As much as 5 percent of the shares sold in the offering will be reserved for select Ashland employees and Valvoline Instant Oil Change store franchisees.

Valvoline’s share sale was the fourth-biggest U.S. IPO of a company this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Valvoline posted net income of $196.1 million in the year ended Sept. 30, 2015, on sales of $1.97 billion. That compares to net income of $173.4 million on $2.04 billion in sales a year earlier.

Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley led the deal. The stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol VVV.

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