Air Products and Chemicals ( APD) said Monday that it will acquire the electronic chemicals business of Ashland Specialty Chemical for $300 million cash. Ashland Specialty Chemical is a division of Ashland ( ASH) of Covington, Ky., and is an electronic service provider and supplier of ultrapure specialty chemicals used by the electronics industry to make semiconductor devices. The acquisition is expected to add to earnings in the first year, Air Products, based in Lehigh Valley, Pa., said. Air Products supplies electronic materials, hydrogen, helium and select performance chemicals to the semiconductor industry. "The Ashland acquisition strongly illustrates our corporate-wide strategy to identify and invest in higher-growth, higher-return businesses," said John P. Jones, Air Products' chief executive. Ashland said it expects to close the transaction in 60 days and that it will use the after-tax proceeds to reduce debt. Shares of Air Products closed at $41.07 Friday. Ashland ended at $31.02 on the New York Stock Exchange.