Ashland Inc. (Covington, KY) is separating itself into two independent, publicly traded companies, one focused on specialty chemicals and the other on motor lubricants. The new Ashland Inc. will be entirely focused on specialty chemicals and Valvoline Inc. will be focused on high-performance lubricants. Ashland said the announcement follows a strategic planning process that set out to better understand the company’s markets, customers and the opportunities for each business. The split also represents the final step in Ashland’s more than decade-long transformation from an oil refiner and marketer to a special chemicals company, during which the company completed dozens of acquisitions and divestitures. “Ashland is fortunate to have two strong, but distinctly different, business platforms with attractive growth opportunities and experienced leadership teams,” said William A. Wulfsohn, Ashland chairman and CEO. “We believe that separating into two industry-leading public companies […] will generate significant value for shareholders by enabling each company to focus on its specific business and strategic priorities.” The new Ashland will provide specialty chemical solutions to customers in a wide range of consumer and industrial markets. These markets are currently served by Ashland’s Chemicals Group, comprising Ashland Specialty Ingredients and Ashland Performance Materials. Key markets and applications include pharmaceutical; personal care; food and beverage; architectural coatings; adhesives; automotive; construction; and energy. Together these businesses generated approximately $3.6-billion in sales for the year ended June 30. Wulfsohn will serve as chairman and CEO of the new Ashland following the separation, while Luis Fernandez-Moreno, currently senior vice president of Ashland and president of Ashland’s Chemicals Group, will be COO of Valvoline. Kevin Willis, currently senior vice president and CFO of Ashland, will serve in the same capacity in the new Ashland. The global brand, which soon will celebrate its 150th anniversary, generated sales of $2-billion in the 12-month period ended June 30.