Ashland (ASH +0.1%) is upgraded to Buy from Neutral with an $88 price target at Monness Crespi & Hardt, where analyst Chris Shaw thinks investors will "warm up to the potential for change with a new leader who presided over both good growth and the sale of the company during his last tenure as CEO."
Guillermo Novo comes directly from a successful run at Versum Materials, taking the company from its spinoff from Air Products to the recent completion of its sale to Merck KGaA.
Monness's Shaw sees the installation of Novo as CEO will result in at least two of three things - improved operating performance, better capital allocation and an outright sale of the company - any of which could warrant an improved outlook.
With past interest by European companies and debt still very cheap, Shaw thinks a sale remains a high probability.
ASH's average Sell Side Rating is Outperform.
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