ICI drops plan to buy German business

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The Independent Online
A DISAGREEMENT about price has led Imperial Chemical Industries and BASF to abandon discussions about ICI buying the acrylics business of its German rival. But a related deal over ICI's polypropylene business will go ahead, writes Heather Connon.

Under the deal, announced in January, ICI was to swap its polypropylene business in Britain and the Netherlands for BASF's acrylics operations in Germany and Spain.

Neither company would comment on the reason for the breakdown, but it is believed that the valuations put on the business by each side were too far apart to be reconciled.

BASF is, however, still in discussions with ICI about the purchase of its polypropylene business, which are expected to be concluded by the year-end. A spokesman for BASF said it also planned to continue to operate the acrylics business and invest in the production facilities to bring them up to international standards.

ICI views acrylics as a growth business in which, following an asset swap, it has a leading international position. But adding BASF's interests, which have sales of about pounds 60m a year, would not have significantly increased its market share.