Fortitech Acquires Premix Manufacturing Business From Ashland; West Coast Operation Will Enhance Fortitech's Customer Service and Delivery Capabilities

SCHENECTADY, N.Y., July 11-- Fortitech, Inc. announced today an agreement to acquire Ashland Distribution Company's nutritional premix blending business.

Under the agreement, Ashland Distribution, a division of Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH), will transfer its nutritional premix manufacturing business to privately-held Fortitech, the world's leading manufacturer of custom developed nutrient systems. Fortitech will assume Ashland's premix manufacturing operation located in Fontana, Calif. The closing is expected to be completed in September 2003.

"The acquisition of Ashland's premix business marks a milestone for Fortitech's expansion efforts in North America," said Walter Borisenok, president of Fortitech. "It amplifies Fortitech's capabilities, providing us with a manufacturing, sales and distribution center on the West Coast that allows for greater operational efficiencies and enhanced customer support. As a result, customers will benefit from improved service, flexible batch sizes and timely delivery."

"The sale of our premix manufacturing business will allow us to sharpen our focus on our core business activities, which are sales and marketing," said Hank Waters, president, Ashland Distribution. "Over the years, we have worked with Fortitech because of their leading position within the human nutrition premix industry. We believe that our customers will benefit from Fortitech's vast technical expertise and exceptional quality products."

Fortitech is the only international company exclusively dedicated to premix manufacturing. The company's leadership position within the premix industry led to a worldwide joint venture with BASF for the manufacture, marketing and sales of human nutrition premix products. Within the last year, Fortitech has expanded its manufacturing operations and research and development capabilities significantly, adding manufacturing facilities in Denmark and Malaysia. Through the acquisition of Ashland's premix business, Fortitech will secure its second manufacturing and distribution facility in the United States. The company is expected to add positions in customer service, sales and operations.

"The West Coast is a hub for the nutraceuticals market, driving nutritional trends and product development for health and wellness products," said Borisenok. "Having a West Coast manufacturing facility creates a significant opportunity for Fortitech to grow business with our existing customers and educate prospective customers on the benefits of nutrient systems."

About Fortitech, Inc.

Fortitech, Inc. is the world leader in the development of custom nutrient systems for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. Founded in 1986, it is exclusively dedicated to the manufacture of nutrient premixes - used in the fortification of a wide range of products. Fortitech is ISO 9001:2000 certified and meets Kosher and Halal standards. Headquartered in Schenectady, N.Y., the company has a global network of manufacturing and distribution companies, including Fortitech Europe, Fortitech Asia Pacific, Fortitech South America and Fortitech Mexico. To learn more about Fortitech, visit - featuring FortiSource(R) - a research and product development database with nutrient monographs, health condition briefs, and information on nutrient interactions and depletions.

About Ashland Distribution Company

Ashland Distribution Company, a division of Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH), is a leading distributor of chemicals, plastics, ingredients, composite materials, and environmental services in North America. Ashland also is a leading Pan-European distributor of thermoplastics. Learn more about Ashland Distribution at

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