According to the Associated Press, specialty chemical company Ashland Inc. is planning to invest $39 million to improve and expand its Hopewell, Va., facility. Gov. Bob McDonnell said the plan will preserve 200 jobs and create 15 additional positions. The expansion will accommodate new equipment to increase production capabilities. The facility was acquired by Ashland from Hercules Incorporated in 2008. It has operated in the community since 1912. Ashland provides specialty chemicals and technologies in more than 100 countries. Its products are used in the automotive, food and beverage, personal care, pharmaceutical and paper industries. McDonnell approved a $250,000 performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership program for the project.