Covington, Kentucky –Ashland Inc. has issued its preliminary financial results for the fiscal first quarter to 31 Dec 2014, reporting ayear-on-year decline of over 50 percent in its profits.
The US-based speciality chemicals producer reported earnings from continuing operations of $40 million, compared to $88 million a year earlier.
Ashland said that a major part of the fall was due to the loss on the sale of its elastomers division, which was sold in December 2014.
Also, the company said its sales fell 3 percent, largely as a result of foreign exchange rates and divestitures.
“Within speciality ingredients, improved product mix and strong cost discipline drove higher earnings and margins, despite the negative sales impact from foreign currency and softness in European construction and North American energy markets,” the firm reported.
The statement also commended the recent global restructuring programme launched by the company, saying savings from it contributed to a 5-percent decline in selling, general and administrative expenses.
Overall sales declined 3 percent, to $561 million, largely due to currency headwinds and the company's previously announced decision to exit the powder guar business.
“We are beginning to see significant improvements in Ashland's cost structure as the global restructuring led to a roughly $19 million reduction in selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses versus a year ago," said the company’s new CEO William Wulfsohn.