Ashland announced plans to increase production capacity of Natrosol hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC) at Hopewell, Virginia in the United States instead of the company’s Nanjing, China site as previously communicated. The shift in timing addresses the immediate industry need for HEC and by leveraging the infrastructure at Hopewell, Ashland expects to increase capacity sooner.

“Ashland is changing the sequencing and timing of Natrosol HEC investments based on immediate customer and industry demand and current market trends,” said Min Chong, senior vice president and general manager, specialty additives, Ashland. “Redeploying funds to our Hopewell site now build upon previous capital investments, allowing us to address market demand sooner. The decision underscores our growth strategy while ensuring we can meet our customers’ growing needs and provide additional supply security across the globe.”

Natrosol HEC is a natural product and an excellent thickening agent. It is used as a non-ionic rheology modifier in industrial and consumer focused applications. Natrosol
rheology modifiers have been theleading cellulosic thickeners for waterborne architectural coatings for more than fifty years. Ashland is the leading global producer of HEC and supplies essential additives and specialty ingredients for a wide range of industries including paints and coatings, construction, oil and gas, personal care and pharmaceutical.

The company said the unprecedented demand is a result of consumer trends towards more sustainable. solutions including water-based paint and a global increase in the building and construction industries and the desire for milder, natural, and more sustainable solutions in consumer markets.

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