#aftermarket – Ashland Inc. and Niteo Products, LLC, a newly formed affiliate of Highlander Partners, L.P., has announced they have reached a definitive agreement under which Niteo will purchase Valvoline’s car-care products assets, including manufacturing and distribution facilities in Hernando, Mississippi. The transaction is expected to close within 90 days, subject to certain standard closing conditions. Financial terms were not disclosed.
* Car-care products, which represented less than four percent of Valvoline’s $2.0 billion in sales for the 12 months ended December 31, 2014, includes the following brands:
* Car Brite – Professional automotive detailing products such as cleaners and degreasers sold through the Do-It-For-Me (DIFM) channel;
* lEagle One – Consumer detailing products such as cleaners and degreasers sold through the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) channel; and
* Pyroil – A full line of automotive maintenance chemicals.
Also included in the sale are Valvoline-branded and private-label maintenance chemicals sold into the DIY channel. Approximately 140 employees work in car-care products, including approximately 120 based at the manufacturing and distribution facilities in Mississippi.
“The proceeds from the sale of this non-strategic asset will be reinvested in generating more rapid, profitable growth within our core lubricants business, such as through the continued expansion of our Valvoline Instant Oil Change store base,” said Sam Mitchell, Ashland senior vice president and Valvoline president. “We have a great team working on the car-care business and I believe that under Highlander’s ownership, it will be better positioned for growth within the appearance products and chemicals segments.”
“Valvoline is a highly profitable business that continues to perform well, and we intend to continue investing in higher-return opportunities within its core business,” said William A. Wulfsohn, Ashland chairman and chief executive officer. Jeff L. Hull, managing partner of Highlander and chairman of Niteo, said, “We have been targeting investments in the consumer products and specialty chemical sectors for some time. As an investment group with a long-term time horizon, we believe the automotive chemicals segment provides an excellent opportunity for long-term growth.
Additionally, Valvoline has built a portfolio of exceptional products, strong brands and high quality manufacturing and distribution facilities, which will provide the foundation for a strong buy and build platform.”
Newly appointed CEO of Niteo, Allen D. Schaar, commented, “When we look at the potential of this business, we are extremely impressed by the strong distribution partners that market these products. Additionally, we are excited by the team of outstanding professionals in the business who have a real passion for succeeding in the automotive chemicals industry. We look forward to working with this talented and energized team, our valued channel partners and strategic suppliers to build a market leading business.”