Imperial Chemical Industries

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Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) is a British chemical group and one of the largest chemical producers in the world. It is based in London. It produces paints and speciality products (including ingredients for foods, specialty polymers, electronic materials, fragrances and flavours). It employs around 26,000 people and had sales of £4.8 billion in 2006. [1]


ICI was founded in December 1926 from the merger of four companies—Brunner Mond, Nobel Explosives, the United Alkali Company, and British Dyestuffs Corporation. Competing with DuPont and IG Farben (which was subsequently split up in 1952 into BASF, Agfa, Hoechst AG, Bayer and other companies), the new company produced explosives, fertilisers, insecticides, dyestuffs, industrial chemicals, printing materials, and paints. In its first year turnover was £27m. [2]

In 1988, the company successfully fought off a hostile takeover bid from the Hanson plc conglomerate. [3]

In 1993 the company decided to demerge its chemical business from the pharmaceutical bioscience divisions. Pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, specialities, seeds and biological products were placed into a new and independent company called Zeneca Group (which merged with Astra AB in 1999 to form AstraZeneca PLC, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world). The company also moved away from bulk and industrial chemicals towards speciality chemicals during the 1990s in the hope of making its income less dependent on the business cycle, earning higher profit margins, and developing businesses with long term growth potential. However its financial performance so far in the 21st century has been erratic. [4]

ICI sold its Australian subsidiary, ICI Australia, in 1997 and the following year the subsidiary changed its name to Orica.

PR, Lobbying and Business Intelligence firms

In 2008, ICI is listed as a client of Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO Ltd[5]



  1. ^ see their website at
  2. ^ from the ICI website at
  3. ^ for a view of the fallout of this see the guardian report available at,,1342005,00.html
  4. ^ see the ICI website at
  5. ^ Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO Ltd Clients Accessed 12th February 2008