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Ashland Doubles Its Quarterly Dividend

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Ashland Inc. (ASH) said its board doubled its quarterly dividend Wednesday, a result of its confidence about future business and the cash it managed to build having whittled down its heavy debt load. Many companies have been raising their dividends as the improving economy bolsters there business. During the depths of the recession and financial crisis, dividend cuts were a popular measure for preserving the bottom line at many companies. The board doubled the payout to 15 cents. Chairman and Chief Executive James J. O'Brien said that over the last year and a half, Ashland has made "excellent progress" integrating its $2.6 billion takeover of Hercules and paying down debt. Ashland has been selling assets in the wake the Hercules acquisition, using proceeds to reduce its heavy debt load. Two ratings agencies in March upgraded Ashland to the brink of investment grade partly because of its stronger credit quality. O'Brien said the payout boost reflects the company's strong cash position because of those accomplishments and demonstrates the board's confidence about the future. Last month, the company reported its fiscal second-quarter profit slumped 54% because of debt-issuance charges, but its core results topped analysts' expectations. O'Brien noted significant gains in volume across its businesses. Ashland shares closed Wednesday down 1.4% at $54.27 and weren't trading after hours. The stock has doubled in value in the last year and hit its highest level in two and half years last month. -By Joan E. Solsman, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2291; joan.solsman@dowjones.com

Stock News for Ashland (ASH)
DateTimeHeadline
05/18/201616:40:40Ashland Inc. board declares regular quarterly dividend
05/16/201611:50:00Nearly 1 in 4 Valvoline Instant Oil Change(SM) Customer Vehicles...
05/06/201613:17:03Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
05/05/201618:14:58Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
05/04/201617:21:07Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
04/26/201617:12:39Current Report Filing (8-k)
04/26/201617:00:32Ashland Inc. reports preliminary financial results for second...
04/22/201617:07:10Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
04/18/201617:19:22Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
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04/13/201616:41:01Current Report Filing (8-k)
04/13/201616:30:22Ashland Inc. provides update on its planned separation of Valvoline
04/08/201608:30:03Ashland Inc. to report financial results for second quarter of...
04/04/201617:36:54Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
04/04/201617:35:35Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
04/04/201617:32:59Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
03/22/201609:00:16Current Report Filing (8-k)
03/21/201608:50:00Wilbur Ross Blank-Check Company Makes Its Purchase
03/20/201621:30:00Wilbur Ross Blank-Check Company to Buy Nexeo Solutions
02/12/201608:56:29Amended Statement of Ownership (sc 13g/a)

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