Ashland completes Hercules deal

Ashland Inc. announced Thursday that it has completed its acquisition of Hercules Inc., one of the world's leading suppliers of specialty chemicals to the pulp and paper industry.

When the deal was announced, Ashland said it would pay $2.6 billion in a combination of cash and stock, plus assume $700 million in Hercules debt.

Besides boosting its position in the pulp and paper business, Ashland also will gain new opportunities in municipal, industrial and marine water treatment.