COVINGTON, KY/WILMINGTON, DE – Ashland Inc. has announced it will buy Hercules Inc. The deal is valued at approximately $3.3 billion and is expected to close by the end of 2008.

Ashland is a manufacturer of specialty chemicals, a distributor of chemicals and plastics, and a provider of automotive lubricants, car-care products and quick-lube services. Hercules produces specialty additives and ingredients that modify the physical properties of water-based systems and is a supplier of specialty chemicals to the pulp and paper industry. Hercules’ Aqualon business produces additives used across a wide range of industries, including paint.

John Panichella, President of Hercules’ Aqualon Group, and Paul Raymond, President of Hercules’ Paper Technologies and Ventures Group, have agreed to join Ashland after the close of the transaction. Ashland expects to maintain a presence in Wilmington, DE, where Hercules is headquartered.