Ashland reports preliminary financial results1 for second quarter of fiscal year 2021

  • Sales of $598 million, down two percent from the prior-year quarter
  • Net income of $41 million, or $0.66 per diluted share
  • Income from continuing operations of $43 million, or $0.69 per diluted share
  • Adjusted income from continuing operations excluding intangibles amortization expense of $64 million, or $1.05 per diluted share
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $134 million
  • Cash flows provided by operating activities of $64 million; free cash flows of $40 million

WILMINGTON, Del., April 28, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ashland Global Holdings Inc. (NYSE: ASH) today announced preliminary1 financial results for the second quarter of fiscal year 2021, which ended March 31, 2021. The global specialty materials company serves customers in a wide range of consumer and industrial markets.

Ashland’s financial results during the quarter reflected execution of the company’s strategy, the benefit of continued cost reduction and improving industrial demand. Results were negatively impacted by the weather-related events in the U.S. Gulf Coast and changing consumer habits as the global pandemic has persisted. Sales were approximately $598 million, down two percent compared to the prior-year period, reflecting the combined effect of these dynamics.

Net income was $41 million compared to a net loss of $582 million in the prior-year quarter which included the impact of a non-cash goodwill impairment charge. Income from continuing operations was $43 million compared to a loss of $575 million in the prior-year quarter, or $0.69 per diluted share compared to a loss of $9.48 in the prior-year quarter. Adjusted income from continuing operations excluding intangibles amortization expense was $64 million compared to $69 million in the prior-year quarter, or $1.05 per diluted share, down from $1.12 in the prior-year quarter. Adjusted EBITDA was $134 million, down from $142 million in the prior-year quarter, driven primarily by weather-related impacts following the winter storms in the U.S. Gulf Coast and higher-than-expected environmental reserves.

Ashland’s two Texas-based facilities were shut down during the quarter for a period following the winter storms in the U.S. Gulf Coast. Weather-related impacts during the quarter totaled approximately $11 million, comprised primarily of lost cost absorption, repair costs and increased freight costs. Unrelated to the winter storms, the company also incurred higher-than-expected environmental reserves of approximately $4 million.

Cash flows provided by operating activities totaled $64 million compared to $47 million in the prior-year quarter. Free cash flows totaled $40 million compared to $10 million in the prior-year quarter.

“Absent the weather-related impacts, all of Ashland’s business units performed as expected during the quarter,” said Guillermo Novo, chairman and chief executive officer, Ashland. “The industrial businesses continued to gain further momentum as demand in those end markets accelerated. The Life Sciences segment saw continued strength in demand in the pharma and nutraceutical end markets, while the Personal Care and Household segment continued to experience the same consumer-driven impacts that have persisted during the global pandemic.”

“I am pleased with the progress our team has made executing our strategy, especially in the context of a difficult operating environment,” continued Novo. “The persistence of the global pandemic-impacted consumer behavior and the winter storms in the U.S. Gulf Coast are realities we faced during the quarter. For the full fiscal year, we expect to recover a portion of the lost cost absorption as the impacted plants work to make up for some of the lost production during the quarter. Overall, our expectations for Ashland’s full year results have not changed. I look forward to sharing additional thoughts on our plans and the progress we have made during our earnings call tomorrow morning.”

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 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.

Consumer Specialties

Sales were $322 million, down six percent from the prior-year quarter. Pharma sales were nearly flat with the strong prior-year period, while nutraceuticals sales reflected an improved demand environment. Sales in Personal Care and Household were down compared to the prior year due primarily to the exit of low-margin products and changing global consumer behavior for styling, grooming and oral-care during the global pandemic. Foreign currency favorably impacted sales by three percent.

Operating income was $54 million, compared to a loss of $300 million in the prior-year quarter which included the impact of the non-cash goodwill impairment charge. Adjusted EBITDA was $88 million, down three percent from the prior-year quarter, reflecting the $11 million weather-related impact of the U.S. Gulf Coast winter storms.

Industrial Specialties

Sales were $246 million, up three percent from the prior-year quarter. Continued strong demand for architectural coatings and adhesives applications was partially offset by weak energy markets in the U.S. and lower construction additive sales following the labor strike at the Doel, Belgium facility. Foreign currency favorably impacted sales by three percent.

Operating income was $38 million, compared to a loss of $145 million in the prior-year quarter which included the impact of the non-cash goodwill impairment charge. Adjusted EBITDA was $62 million, up 17% from the prior-year quarter, driven by favorable mix and SARD expenses.

Intermediates & Solvents

Sales were $37 million, consistent with the prior-year quarter, as higher merchant sales offset lower internal sales following the winter storms in the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Operating income was $3 million, up from an operating loss of $2 million in the prior-year quarter. Adjusted EBITDA was $7 million, up from $5 million in the prior-year quarter.

Unallocated & Other

Unallocated and Other expense was $24 million, compared to $21 million in the prior-year quarter. Adjusted Unallocated and Other expense was $23 million, compared to an expense of $7 million in the prior-year quarter, primarily due to higher legacy environmental costs and favorable one-time income items recorded during the prior year.

Conference Call Webcast
Ashland will host a live webcast of its first-quarter conference call with securities analysts at 10:00 a.m. ET on Thursday, April 29, 2021. The webcast will be accessible through Ashland’s website at http://investor.ashland.com and will include a slide presentation. 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 most accurately reflect Ashland’s underlying business performance and trends.  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 metric enables 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 includes the impact of capital expenditures from continuing operations, providing a more complete picture of 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 Global Holdings Inc. (NYSE: ASH) is a premier specialty materials company with a conscious and proactive mindset for sustainability. The company serves customers in a wide range of consumer and industrial markets, including adhesives, architectural coatings, automotive, construction, energy, food and beverage, nutraceuticals, personal care and pharmaceutical. Approximately 4,200 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/sustainability 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 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-Q is filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:

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


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