Ashland’s latest financial report shows that sales revenue fell 13 percent during the second quarter of 2015, compared to the same period last year.
The US-based company, which provides specialty chemical solutions for the consumer and industrial markets, has reported earnings from continuing operations of US$95m on sales of US$1.35bn.
Ashland said the fall in sales revenue was largely a result of divestitures and foreign exchange rates and excluding these, sales declined 3 percent.
Chairman and chief executive William A.Wulfsohn stated that since joining the company in January he was focusing on “the core segments where Ashland delivers highly differentiated, value-added products to customers.”
This includes Ashland Specialty Ingredients, where higher-margin pharmaceutical and hair-care lines grew volume by 7 percent and 12 percent, respectively.
Wulfsohn commented, “Ashland’s performance through the first half of the fiscal year is the result of sound execution. Looking forward, we will continue to focus on cost control and prioritising highly profitable, differentiated growth segments while sustaining effective capital allocation.
“We are playing to our strengths by focusing on the products and markets where we provide the most value to our customers.”
Despite the revenue decline, mix improvements resulted in profit growth. Selling, general and administrative costs declined 9 percent, to US$239m, as a result of the global restructuring, while foreign exchange and operating income grew 29 percent to US$218m.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and (EBITDA) increased nearly 11 percent to US$301m and EBITDA as a percent of sales increased to 22.3 percent.
Wulfsohn said, “In the quarter, the Ashland team continued to execute at a high level as is evidenced by our solid earnings and margin growth.
“Ashland’s strong EBITDA growth was driven by aggressive cost control, by taking focused actions to improve sales mix and by maintaining a disciplined approach to pricing in the context of considerable input cost volatility.
“After much difficult work over the past year, the team has now captured substantially all of the expected US$200m in annualised run-rate cost savings from the global restructuring program.”