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Ashland 1Q net income rises on insurance gain

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Ashland Inc. said Tuesday its fiscal first-quarter net income jumped 66 percent, boosted by a gain related to an insurance settlement.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, the Covington, Ky.-based chemical company earned $101 million, or $1.26 per share, compared with $61 million, or 77 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding one-time items, including a $13 million after-tax benefit related to a business interruption insurance settlement, the company posted adjusted profit from continuing operations of $1.12 per share for the recent quarter.

Revenue fell 3 percent to $1.87 billion, hurt by soft demand in some key markets and regions.

The results fell short of Wall Street expectations. Analysts, on average, expected a profit of $1.38 per share on $1.9 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

The recent quarter's results included $31 million in losses related to a drop in the value of inventories of certain products at its specialty ingredients business. Sales at that business fell 1 percent to $622 million.

Meanwhile, water technologies sales dropped 6 percent to $421 million and sales of performance materials dropped 9 percent to $345 million. Consumer sales increased 1 percent to $481 million.