WILMINGTON, DE - Ashland Specialty Ingredients, a commercial unit of Ashland Inc., announced plans to invest approximately $89 million over the next three years to expand specialty chemical production at its manufacturing facility in Hopewell, VA.

The majority of the investment will be aimed at expanding production of two key product lines. Ashland said it will increase production of Natrosol hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC), used as a thickener in latex paints, by 4,700 metric tons, or approximately 40 percent in Hopewell. The company also will expand capacity for Klucel hydroxypropylcellulose (HPC), a high-value technology used to enable time-release delivery in pharmaceutical tablet binders and coatings and other applications, by approximately 50 percent. 

The plant expansion is expected to begin during the summer of 2015. An estimated 17 new jobs are expected to be added to the facility's current total of 237 positions as a result of the expansion.