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Ashland reports financial results(1) for fourth-fiscal quarter; issues outlook for fiscal year 2023

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  • Sales of $631 million, up 7 percent from the prior-year quarter
  • Net income (including discontinued operations) of $57 million, or $1.04 per diluted share
  • Income from continuing operations of $60 million, or $1.09 per diluted share
  • Adjusted income from continuing operations excluding intangibles amortization expense of $80 million, or $1.46 per diluted share
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $147 million
  • Cash flows provided by operating activities of $179 million; ongoing free cash flow2 of $93 million

WILMINGTON, Del., Nov. 07, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) today announced financial results1 for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2022, which ended September 30, 2022, together with its fiscal year 2022 results summary and fiscal year 2023 outlook. The global additives and specialty ingredients company holds leadership positions in high-quality, consumer-focused markets including pharmaceuticals, personal care and architectural coatings.

Sales were $631 million, up 7 percent versus the prior-year quarter. Each of the company’s reportable segments achieved sales growth compared to the prior-year quarter. The year-over-year sales growth was driven primarily by disciplined pricing leading to cost recovery in a high-inflation environment and improved product mix. Sales growth was partially offset by unfavorable foreign currency which negatively impacted sales by $33 million, or 6 percent.

Net income was $57 million, up from $43 million in the prior-year quarter. Income from continuing operations was $60 million, up from $33 million in the prior-year quarter, or $1.09 per diluted share, up from $0.55 in the prior-year quarter. Adjusted income from continuing operations excluding intangibles amortization expense was $80 million, up from $73 million in the prior-year quarter, or $1.46 per diluted share, up from $1.22 in the prior-year quarter. Adjusted EBITDA was $147 million, down 1 percent from $149 million in the prior-year quarter. Unfavorable foreign currency and the planned turnaround at the Lima, OH facility negatively impacted adjusted EBITDA by $15 million and $13 million, respectively, or 19 percent on a combined basis.

Average diluted shares outstanding totaled 55 million as of September 30, 2022, down from 61 million in the prior-year quarter, following the company’s share repurchase activities which began in August 2021. Earlier in fiscal year 2022, Ashland’s Board of Directors approved a new $500 million evergreen share repurchase authorization.

Cash flows provided by operating activities totaled $179 million, up from $151 million in the prior-year quarter. Ongoing free cash flow2 totaled $93 million compared to $122 million in the prior-year quarter.

“The September quarter concludes a very strong year for Ashland,” said Guillermo Novo, chair and chief executive officer, Ashland. “Our commercial, operations, research and development and corporate teams worked diligently throughout the year to drive meaningful sales and earnings growth despite numerous macroeconomic and geopolitical challenges. I am proud of our global team’s accomplishments this fiscal year.”

Reportable Segment Performance
To aid in the understanding of Ashland’s ongoing business performance, the results of Ashland’s reportable segments are described below on an adjusted basis. In addition, EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA are reconciled to operating income in Table 4. Free cash flow, ongoing free cash flow and adjusted operating income are reconciled in Table 6 and adjusted income from continuing operations, adjusted diluted earnings per share and adjusted diluted earnings per share excluding intangible amortization expense are reconciled in Table 7 of this news release. These adjusted results are considered non-GAAP financial measures.  For a full description of the non-GAAP financial measures used, see the “Use of Non-GAAP Measures” section that further describes these adjustments below.

Life Sciences
Sales were $213 million, up 13 percent from the prior-year quarter, driven by double-digit sales growth to pharmaceutical customers reflecting strong demand, improved product mix and cost recovery. Sales growth was partially offset by unfavorable foreign currency which negatively impacted sales by $11 million, or 6 percent.

Adjusted operating income was $40 million, up from $31 million in the prior-year quarter. Adjusted EBITDA was $57 million, up from $48 million in the prior-year quarter, primarily reflecting strong demand, disciplined pricing leading to cost recovery and favorable product mix. Unfavorable foreign currency negatively impacted adjusted EBITDA by $7 million, or 15 percent.

Personal Care
Sales were $188 million, up 3 percent from the prior-year quarter. Disciplined pricing, improved mix and strong customer demand led to organic sales growth for the segment, exclusive of the previously disclosed product exits for skin-care applications. Sales growth was partially offset by unfavorable foreign currency which negatively impacted sales by $9 million, or 5 percent.

Adjusted operating income was $35 million, up from $29 million in the prior-year quarter. Adjusted EBITDA was $56 million, up from $51 million in the prior-year quarter, primarily reflecting strong demand, improved mix, cost recovery through pricing and consistent operations. Unfavorable foreign currency negatively impacted adjusted EBITDA by $3 million, or 6 percent.

Specialty Additives
Sales were $187 million, up 3 percent from the prior-year quarter, primarily reflecting inflation recovery. While demand remains strong, capacity constraints and proactive mix improvement actions limited overall sales growth during the quarter. Sales growth was partially offset by unfavorable foreign currency which negatively impacted sales by $11 million, or 6 percent.

Adjusted operating income was $24 million, compared to $25 million in the prior-year quarter. Adjusted EBITDA was $43 million, compared to $47 million in the prior-year quarter, primarily reflecting higher operating costs including higher energy costs at European cellulosic manufacturing facilities partially offset by cost recovery through pricing and improved product mix. Unfavorable foreign currency negatively impacted adjusted EBITDA by $2 million, or 4 percent.

Intermediates
Sales were $64 million, up 7 percent from the prior-year quarter, driven by higher merchant-market pricing and improved mix management. Captive internal butanediol (BDO) sales were $21 million, a 5 percent decrease compared to the prior-year quarter, primarily driven by lower internal-transfer volumes as compared to unusually high levels in the prior-year period. Captive internal BDO sales are recognized at market-based pricing which was relatively flat compared to the prior-year quarter.

Adjusted operating income was $14 million, compared to $18 million in the prior-year quarter. Adjusted EBITDA was $17 million, including $13 million of planned turnaround costs at the Lima, OH facility, compared to $21 million in the prior-year quarter.

Unallocated & Other
Unallocated and Other expense was $34 million, compared to $27 million in the prior-year quarter. Adjusted Unallocated and Other expense was $26 million, compared to $18 million in the prior-year quarter, primarily reflecting increased incentive compensation accruals and the elimination of transition services income that occurred in the prior-year period.

Fiscal Year 2022 Results Summary
Sales were $2.4 billion, up 13 percent from the prior year. Sales growth was driven by strong demand from Ashland’s global consumer-facing end markets, cost recovery through disciplined actions and enhanced product mix. The double-digit sales growth was partially offset by unfavorable foreign currency which negatively impacted sales by $77 million, or 4 percent, during the fiscal year.

Net income was $927 million, up from $220 million in the prior year. Net income in fiscal year 2022 included income from discontinued operations related to the sale of the Performance Adhesives business earlier in the year. Income from continuing operations was $181 million, up from $173 million in the prior year, or $3.20 per diluted share, up from $2.82 in the prior year. Adjusted income from continuing operations excluding intangibles amortization expense was $322 million, up from $230 million in the prior year, or $5.70 per diluted share, up from $3.75 in the prior year.

Adjusted EBITDA was $590 million, up 19 percent from $495 million in the prior year. Unfavorable foreign currency negatively impacted adjusted EBITDA by $38 million, or 8 percent. Adjusted EBITDA margin increased to nearly 25 percent, a 130 basis-point increase compared to the prior year.

Cash flows provided by operating activities totaled $193 million, compared to $466 million in the prior year. Ongoing free cash flow2 totaled $127 million compared to $351 million in the prior year, primarily driven by higher working capital balances reflecting significant input cost inflation and the company’s efforts to rebuild inventory levels globally in response to global supply-chain challenges during the year.

Financial Outlook
For fiscal year 2023, Ashland expects sales to be in the range of $2.5 billion to $2.7 billion, and adjusted EBITDA to be in the range of $600 million to $650 million.

“Although we are not immune to the challenging external factors impacting the global economy, we expect the profile of our consumer-focused specialty ingredients and additives business portfolio to provide more demand resilience as we enter a more recessionary macro environment,” said Novo. “The carry-over impact of pricing, mix improvement and productivity actions should provide some tailwind to our growth and earnings and our teams are taking actions to offset incremental inflationary pressures.  Our new product development pipeline remains robust, and we are investing in our business to build additional capacity for key products to support our global customer base.”

“The impact of a global recession, the war in Ukraine, foreign currency headwinds, energy cost and availability in Europe impacting customer and supplier operations, additional pandemic-related lockdowns, global supply-chain and shipping challenges and continued cost-inflation pressures are currently the greatest areas of uncertainty,” continued Novo. “Despite the external uncertainties ahead, we are focused on what we can control. The Ashland team is executing at a high level, and we are prepared for both the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.  I look forward to discussing our results and outlook in more detail on the earnings call and webcast tomorrow morning,” concluded Novo.

Conference Call Webcast
Ashland will host a live webcast of its fourth-quarter conference call with securities analysts at 9:00 a.m. ET on Tuesday, November 8, 2022. The webcast will be accessible through Ashland’s website at http://investor.ashland.com and will include a slide presentation.

To access the call by phone, please go to this registration link and you will be provided with dial in details. To avoid delays, we encourage participants to dial into the conference call fifteen minutes ahead of the scheduled start time.

Following the live event, an archived version of the webcast and supporting materials will be available for 12 months on http://investor.ashland.com.

Use of Non-GAAP Measures
Ashland believes that by removing the impact of depreciation and amortization and excluding certain non-cash charges, amounts spent on interest and taxes and certain other charges that are highly variable from year to year, EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA, EBITDA margin and adjusted EBITDA margin provide Ashland’s investors with performance measures that reflect the impact to operations from trends in changes in sales, margin and operating expenses, providing a perspective not immediately apparent from net income, operating income, net income margin and operating income margin. The adjustments Ashland makes to derive the non-GAAP measures of EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA, EBITDA margin and adjusted EBITDA margin exclude items which may cause short-term fluctuations in net income and operating income and which Ashland does not consider to be the fundamental attributes or primary drivers of its business. EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA, EBITDA margin and adjusted EBITDA margin provide disclosure on the same basis as that used by Ashland’s management to evaluate financial performance on a consolidated and reportable segment basis and provide consistency in our financial reporting, facilitate internal and external comparisons of Ashland’s historical operating performance and its business units, and provide continuity to investors for comparability purposes. EBITDA margin and adjusted EBITDA margin are defined as EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA divided by sales for the corresponding period.

Key items, which are set forth on Table 7 of this release, are defined as financial effects from significant transactions that, either by their nature or amount, have caused short-term fluctuations in net income and/or operating income which Ashland does not consider to reflect Ashland’s underlying business performance and trends most accurately.  Further, Ashland believes that providing supplemental information that excludes the financial effects of these items in the financial results will enhance the investor’s ability to compare financial performance between reporting periods.

Tax-specific key items, which are set forth on Table 7 of this release, are defined as financial transactions, tax law changes or other matters that fall within the definition of key items as described above.  These items relate solely to tax matters and would only be recorded within the income tax caption of the Statement of Consolidated Income.  As with all key items, due to their nature, Ashland does not consider the financial effects of these tax-specific key items on net income to be the most accurate reflection of Ashland’s underlying business performance and trends.

The free cash flow metrics enable Ashland to provide a better indication of the ongoing cash being generated that is ultimately available for both debt and equity holders as well as other investment opportunities. Unlike cash flow provided by operating activities, free cash flow and ongoing free cash flow include the impact of capital expenditures from continuing operations and other significant items impacting free cash flow, providing a more complete picture of current and future cash generation. Free cash flow has certain limitations, including that it does not reflect adjustment for certain non-discretionary cash flows such as mandatory debt repayments. The amount of mandatory versus discretionary expenditures can vary significantly between periods.

Adjusted diluted earnings per share is a performance measure used by Ashland and is defined by Ashland as earnings (loss) from continuing operations, adjusted for identified key items and divided by the number of outstanding diluted shares of common stock.  Ashland believes this measure provides investors additional insights into operational performance by providing earnings and diluted earnings per share metrics that exclude the effect of the identified key items and tax specific key items.

Adjusted diluted earnings per share, excluding intangibles amortization expense metric enables Ashland to demonstrate the impact of non-cash intangibles amortization expense on earnings per share, in addition to key items previously mentioned. Ashland’s management believes this presentation is helpful to illustrate how previous acquisitions impact applicable period results.

About Ashland
Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) is a global additives and specialty ingredients company with a conscious and proactive mindset for environment, social and governance (ESG). The company serves customers in a wide range of consumer and industrial markets, including architectural coatings, automotive, construction, energy, food and beverage, nutraceuticals, personal care and pharmaceutical. Approximately 3,900 passionate, tenacious solvers – from renowned scientists and research chemists to talented engineers and plant operators – thrive on developing practical, innovative and elegant solutions to complex problems for customers in more than 100 countries. Visit ashland.com and ashland.com/ESG to learn more.

Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Ashland has identified some of these forward-looking statements with words such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “expects,” “estimates,” “is likely,” “predicts,” “projects,” “forecasts,” “objectives,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “plans” and “intends” and the negative of these words or other comparable terminology. Ashland may from time to time make forward-looking statements in its annual reports, quarterly reports and other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), news releases and other written and oral communications. These forward-looking statements are based on Ashland’s expectations and assumptions, as of the date such statements are made, regarding Ashland’s future operating performance, financial condition, and expected effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Ashland’s business, as well as the economy and other future events or circumstances. These statements include but may not be limited to Ashland’s expectations regarding its ability to drive sales and earnings growth and realize further cost reductions.

Ashland’s expectations and assumptions include, without limitation, internal forecasts and analyses of current and future market conditions and trends, management plans and strategies, operating efficiencies and economic conditions (such as prices, supply and demand, cost of raw materials, and the ability to recover raw-material cost increases through price increases), and risks and uncertainties associated with the following: the impact of acquisitions and/or divestitures Ashland has made or may make (including the possibility that Ashland may not realize the anticipated benefits from such transactions); Ashland’s substantial indebtedness (including the possibility that such indebtedness and related restrictive covenants may adversely affect Ashland’s future cash flows, results of operations, financial condition and its ability to repay debt); severe weather, natural disasters, public-health crises (including the current COVID-19 pandemic), cyber events and legal proceedings and claims (including product recalls, environmental and asbestos matters); the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict, on the geographies in which we operate, the end markets we serve and on our supply chain and customers, and without limitation, risks and uncertainties affecting Ashland that are described in Ashland’s most recent Form 10-K (including Item 1A Risk Factors) filed with the SEC, which is available on Ashland’s website at http://investor.ashland.com or on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov. Various risks and uncertainties may cause actual results to differ materially from those stated, projected or implied by any forward-looking statements. The extent and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business and operations is uncertain. Factors that will influence the impact on our business and operations include the duration and extent of the pandemic, the extent of imposed or recommended containment and mitigation measures, and the general economic consequences of the pandemic. Ashland believes its expectations and assumptions are reasonable, but there can be no assurance that the expectations reflected herein will be achieved. Unless legally required, Ashland undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements made in this news release whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

1Financial results are preliminary until Ashland’s Form 10-K is filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

2The ongoing free cash flow metric excludes the impact of inflows and outflows from U.S. Accounts Receivable Sales Program and payments related to restructuring and environmental and litigation-related matters in both the current-year and prior-year periods.

™ Trademark, Ashland or its subsidiaries, registered in various countries.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:

Investor Relations:Media Relations:
Seth A. MrozekCarolmarie C. Brown
+1 (302) 594-5010+1 (302) 995-3158
samrozek@ashland.comccbrown@ashland.com

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