City File: ICI on hold

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The Independent Online
MOST analysts have already slashed their estimates of ICI's profits ahead of Thursday's third-quarter figures. The nine- monthly pre-tax range is now around pounds 525m, with up to pounds 650m for the full year. Nevertheless, the details will be keenly scanned to see how badly the American market for Tenormin, a heart drug, has suffered from the expiry of its patents. Sales could be down by half, according to some reports. Nor is there likely to be much cheer as far as the core chemicals business is concerned, where commodity prices have been in free fall since the summer. But the share price, down by more than pounds 3.50 since its May peak, has largely discounted the declining outlook, and the shares are probably a hold given that we are (surely) near the bottom of the cycle.