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Ashland Shows Gain From MAP Transaction

COVINGTON, Ky. -- Ashland Inc. had net income of $1.8 billion for the quarter ended June 30, the third quarter of the company's 2005 fiscal year, the company reported.

These results include a $1.5 billion net gain on the sale of Ashland's 38 percent interest in Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC, its maleic anhydride business and 60 Valvoline Instant Oil Change centers (collectively referred to as the "MAP Transaction") and the repayment of most of Ashland's debt with the proceeds. Excluding this gain, net income for the June 2005 quarter was $231 million, or $3.09 a share, compared to $161 million, or $2.26 a share, for the quarter last year.

"The completion of the MAP Transaction marked an extraordinary milestone in Ashland's history," said James J. O'Brien, Ashland Inc. chairman and chief executive officer. "After 81 years in the petroleum refining and marketing industry, Ashland is now focused on growth as a two-sector company with operations in chemicals and transportation construction."

Commenting on operations, O'Brien said operating income from refining and marketing was $290 million for the June 2005 quarter. Strong margins throughout the quarter enabled the 41 percent improvement over the 2004 June quarter.

"Third quarter results were encouraging," said O'Brien. "Our solid financial performance is a testament to process improvement across Ashland's businesses. As we continue to make progress in both Sectors, we are confident about our ability to perform well during the remainder of fiscal 2005.”

In other corporate developments, Ashland announced last week that its board of directors authorized the purchase of up to $270 million of its common shares.
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