Ashland Inc. to invest $15M in Western Ky. plant

Covington-based specialty chemical company Ashland Inc. announced Wednesday that it plans to invest $15 million in its production facility in Calvert City.

The company plans to install three new heat recovery steam generators in the Western Kentucky plant, which employs 500. Construction of the generators, which will replace an older coal-fired boiler and two gas-fired boilers, is expected to begin in March and be completed in 2014, according to a company statement.

"The addition of these gas-fired boilers will dramatically improve the operating efficiency of our Calvert City facility and help us compete more effectively on a global scale," Ashland CEO James J. O'Brien said in a statement. "Calvert City will play an important role in Ashland's growth, particularly as we expand our presence in personal care products."

The facility produces specialty chemicals for use in products such as shampoos, toothpastes, denture adhesives, lotions and styling gels. It also produces chemicals used in beverages and pharmaceuticals.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority last year approved $5.5 million in state tax incentives for the project. The deal requires Ashland to maintain at least 90 percent of the 500 jobs at the plant.

Ashland took over operations of the facility after it bought International Specialty Products in a $3.2 billion all-cash deal completed in August 2011. The facility was originally opened in 1955 by General Aniline and Film, which became ISP in the early 1990s.