There are a lot of ex-Ashland folks here who seem to have very limited knowledge of Ashland's businesses. My guess is they knew their own profit center and never bothered to learn about the rest. This was most evident in the recent posts about Ashland and the construction industry.
Ashland has lots of involvement in construction. I listed resins for a wide range of applications in a response to the last topic: laminating adhesives, composite resins for fiberglass and synthetic marble (you know, tubs, sinks, tiles, etc.) and a host of chemicals and solvents through distribution for paints and coatings, adhesives, chemicals for making things like siding and piping, etc., and there really is lots more. Pretty sure the water business (Drew) is significant in commercial construction as well. You could find a lot of this information at Ashland's sites, but a lot of the folks posting here know their own pieces of it.
It would be great if a few of the knowledgeable employees or exes would do a little expanding here for the folks interested in their investments and tired of the all-negative chatter.
Every word you say is true Ashland has products for all these industries but most at commodity or near commodity margins.
All these industries are leaders for the recession and stimulus will do nothing until the housing market bottoms and all the crap mortgages get flushed out which the stimulus might make worse by keeping bad loans going longer thus prolonging the hole. Do you think the demand for bathtubs and other home-building products is suddenly going to jump because the great messiah Barak says it will? GM,Chrysler and Ford along with the rest of the world's auto companies going to start building more cars to store on parking lots? This will take a long time at least a year before you see significant up tick in demand for these products. The question is will AShland be able to keep it together until that uptick starts. If you think it will then this is a great time to buy.
Ashland has a lot of potentially great technology and great people what they lack is MANAGEMENT that understands what it takes to sell specialty chemicals. You are not a specialty company simply because you wish it to be so. It takes experts in customers' businesses to make these sales happen and Ashland is losing these people in droves. They want to be specialty and high tech but the mentality and actions are distribution.
Bluto, I couldn't agree more that until the economy comes back business in construction and automotive, two of Ashland's major markets, is going to go like pushing rope uphill. Until folks can count on reasonably secure jobs and a moderate amount of discretionary income they aren't going to buy houses or cars, so Ashland's customers won't be building them in great supply. It WILL take time, and I sure hope Ashland can weather it.
What worries me is that way too many of the so called political and corporate leaders in this country seem to have become so greedy that they've forgotten the most basic lesson of economics. In the end, people without jobs and confidence don't spend money, and people are ALWAYS the ultimate customer. No people spending money, no economy.
But I digress... My post was merely correcting an earlier poster who claimed Ashland was no longer much involved in the construction market. I wasn't suggesting that the market was good at this point, just that Ashland IS involved.