Chemical maker Ashland to cut up to 1000 jobs

Mon Jan 27, 2014 6:44pm EST

Jan 27 (Reuters) - Valvoline motor oil maker Ashland Inc reported a 2 percent rise in quarterly profit and the company said it would cut up to 1,000 jobs as part of a restructuring.

Ashland, which is under pressure from activist investor Jana Partners to boost shareholder value, also said it plans to move another 1,000 jobs to existing lower-cost centers.

The restructuring is likely to save $150 million to $200 million annually, the company said on Monday.

Ashland expects the majority of the savings to start during the first half of its fiscal 2015.

Jana Partners held 8.58 percent stake in Ashland as of November, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Ashland also said its business would now consist of three units - specialty ingredients, performance materials and Valvoline.

The company said in July it planned to sell its water technologies unit and Reuters reported in November that the Ashland was in talks with at least seven potential buyers.

Profit from continuing operations rose to $111 million, or $1.42 per share, for the first quarter ended Dec. 31, from $102 million, or $1.27 per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, earnings were $1.42 per share.

Revenue remained flat at $1.9 billion.

Analysts on average had expected a profit $1.31 per share, on revenue of $1.87 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Ashland shares closed at $95.29 on the New York Stock Exchange. They have gained nearly 11 percent in the last year.

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