Purchase strengthens Ashland’s position in high-growth markets and furthers the company’s expansion in sustainable, natural-based specialty ingredients

WILMINGTON, Delaware — Ashland Specialty Ingredients, a commercial unit of Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) and a world leader in the production of biofunctional ingredients, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase the Zeta Fraction technology from AkzoNobel. The acquisition broadens Ashland’s value-added portfolio in the personal care, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, and agriculture markets. The transaction is expected to be completed during the current fiscal quarter. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The patented Zeta Fraction process and technology selectively isolates efficacious components from living plants and marine sources to produce a wide range of biofunctional ingredients. Targeted cellular fractions are gently separated based on unique patented technology, preserving the inherent value of the plant cell juice. Conventional plant extraction technology isolates botanical extracts from dried plants and uses external solvents that limit shelf life stability and reproducibility, among other limitations.

«As global consumers increasingly ask for more sophisticated personal-care products, Ashland is bringing enterprise solutions to finished product manufacturers for implementation across their product platforms,» said James Mish, group vice president, Consumer Specialties, Ashland Specialty Ingredients. «This unique, naturally based technology is a catalyst to expand Ashland’s comprehensive expertise in biofunctionals gained from our Vincience(TM) technology and our core competency in bioavailability.»

Creating enterprise-level solutions in key areas of consumer care requires leadership in ingredient technology, applications development, formulations and consumer science. Ashland has integrated all of these capabilities in-house and has organized them in a way that enables the company to bring forward solutions for large-scale adoption and implementation.

«A major challenge in many consumer markets is bioavailability,» Mish continued. «Making actives or substances more available in a formulated product is essential to a superior consumer experience. Ashland’s objective is to work with innovative manufacturers of consumer care products at the early stages of product development, and to deliver bioavailability solutions that lead to better market opportunities for customers. This also applies to the pharmaceutical, nutrition, and agricultural market segments.»

During the in-cosmetics show held earlier this year in Barcelona, Spain, the company provided insight about the future of products based on enhanced ingredient delivery in skin, scalp, hair and oral-care applications. At that time, Ashland’s Vincience research center in Sophia Antipolis, France, introduced Elixiance(TM) biofunctional, a new ecological and sustainable ingredient for skin-care products to help reduce the effects of pollution on skin. The Zeta Fraction technology, when combined with Ashland’s ongoing work and recent investments in biofunctionals, will better position the company for growth in the natural-based specialty ingredients market.
About Ashland Specialty Ingredients

Ashland Specialty Ingredients is the leading global producer of cellulose ethers and a global leader in vinyl pyrrolidones. It offers industry-leading products, technologies and resources for solving formulation and product-performance challenges. Using natural, synthetic and semisynthetic polymers derived from plant and seed extract, cellulose ethers and vinyl pyrrolidones, as well as acrylic and polyurethane-based adhesives, Specialty Ingredients offers comprehensive and innovative solutions for today’s demanding consumer and industrial applications. Key customers include: pharmaceutical companies; makers of personal care products, food and beverages; manufacturers of paint, coatings and construction materials; packaging and converting; and oilfield service companies.

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