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ASHLAND EXPECTS CHARGES TO RESULT IN LOSS IN FISCAL FOURTH QUARTER, YEAR

ASHLAND EXPECTS CHARGES TO RESULT IN LOSS IN FISCAL FOURTH QUARTER, YEAR
 ASHLAND, Ky., Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Ashland Oil, Inc. (NYSE: ASH) today reported that it will adopt Financial Accounting Standards (FAS) Board Statements No. 106 and No. 109 for its fiscal 1992, beginning Oct. 1, 1991.
 As a result of these accounting changes, the company's fiscal 1992 will include a net charge of approximately $290 million or $4.93 per share.
 Ashland also will take special item charges totaling approximately $100 million after tax or $1.72 per share in its fiscal fourth quarter, ending Sept. 30, 1992. These items include reserves for environmental costs, various asset impairments and implementation of a previously announced voluntary retirement program.
 As a result of these charges, Ashland expects to report a significant loss in its fiscal fourth quarter and fiscal 1992, according to John R. Hall, Ashland chairman and chief executive officer.
 "Without these charges, Ashland was expecting to earn a modest profit in the September quarter, while earnings for the year would approximate the company's $1.00 per share annual dividend," Hall said.
 FAS 106 requires that the projected future costs of providing retiree benefits, such as health care and life insurance but excluding pensions, be recognized as an expense as employees render service instead of when the benefits are paid, as Ashland and most other companies historically have done. The financial impact of adopting this standard in 1992 reflects the immediate recognition of such future benefit costs based on Ashland's existing retiree programs.
 Ashland plans to modify its retiree benefit programs effective Jan. 1, 1993, to significantly reduce future costs. The modifications will limit the annual amount of health care inflation Ashland will pay through its retiree medical plans. In addition, retirements subsequent to Dec. 31, 1992, will be subject to a cost-sharing method based upon the years of service of the retiree. It is anticipated that after fiscal 1992 these modifications will substantially offset the increased ongoing cost which would otherwise result from adoption of FAS 106.
 FAS 109 changes the accounting for income taxes and supersedes FAS 96, which was adopted by Ashland in fiscal 1988.
 "While we are disappointed with the results of our petroleum business in fiscal 1992, we are very pleased with the performance of some of our other businesses," said Hall. "We expect that Valvoline will have a record year, and APAC and Ashland Chemical will also have strong years. We continue to be optimistic about the outlook for the company. We expect that continued improvement from our growth areas, along with a rebound in Ashland Petroleum and an extensive cost reduction program, will lead to better results in fiscal 1993."
 In its fiscal fourth quarter of 1991, Ashland reported net income of $62.5 million or $1.07 per share. For fiscal 1991, Ashland reported net income of $145 million or $2.56 per share.
 Ashland Oil, Inc. is a diversified energy corporation engaged in petroleum refining, transportation and marketing; retail gasoline marketing; motor oil and lubricants marketing; chemicals; coal; highway construction; and oil and gas exploration and production.
 -0- 9/18/92
 /CONTACT: Roger Schrum of Ashland Oil, 606-329-4061/
 (ASH) CO: Ashland Oil, Inc. ST: Kentucky IN: OIL SU: ERN


PT -- PG002 -- 0965 09/18/92 08:31 EDT
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Date:Sep 18, 1992
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