The group has now offloaded its loss-making fibres business, which depressed last year's figures. It has also benefited from the drop in sterling, and slashed its cost base by almost pounds 400m. All textbook management responses to recession, but if you strip out the currency gains and cost-cutting measures, the underlying performance sags by about pounds 45m. Time for the black paint.
ICI's third quarter results, due out on Thursday, should show operating profits up to pounds 69m from pounds 31m for the same time last year. But before investors go out and paint the town red - with a can of Dulux, naturally - they should read the underlying figures, which make for much grimmer reading.