ICI confirms acrylics sale talks

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The Independent Online
ICI YESTERDAY said it was in "very serious" talks to sell its acrylics business as it focuses on higher-margin specialty chemicals, although it refused to confirm reports that Charterhouse Development Capital, a unit of CCF Charterhouse, has emerged as the front-runner in a highly contested auction to buy its acrylics operations for as much as pounds 600m. ICI is in the final stages of reshaping itself as a specialty chemicals and paints maker.

"All I can say is that we're in very serious discussions," said Martin Adeney, a spokesman for ICI. Mr Adeney would not confirm that ICI had received a bid from Charterhouse, or name any bidders. "We're in talks with a number of parties," he said.

Analysts had originally thought that the acrylics business, based in Belgium, which had sales of about pounds 536m last year, would fetch between pounds 300m and pounds 450m.

ICI's shares rose by 2 per cent on the reports, before closing yesterday down 9.5p at 739.5p.