ICI set to float consultancy

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The Independent Online
ICI yesterday announced plans to hive off its engineering consultancy business in a stock market flotation that could value the business at pounds 80m-pounds 100m.

Eutech Engineering Solutions was set up in 1993 following the demerger of ICI into separate chemicals and pharmaceuticals businesses and has since grown sales to pounds 44m.

The business employs 500 direct staff and 400 contractors and made pre- tax profits last year of pounds 3m. The support services sector of the stock market, which Eutech would enter, trades on an historic earnings multiple of more than 40 times.

The flotation, planned to take place in the next two years, could be one of a series of spin-offs from ICI as it disposes of its industrial chemicals division and moves instead further into speciality chemicals and paints.

Another contender for flotation or sale could be the central services division at ICI's Wilton site in the North-east which also acts as a base for Dupont, BP, BSAF and Enron. This could be spun off as a stand alone business when the cracker and olefins business at Wilton is sold.

Eutech provides specialist engineering services to ICI and external customers and almost half its turnover comes from outside the group.

It supplies consultancy services in manufacturing, engineering and project manage- ment and also carries out safety audits and verification work. Eutech's chairman is Len Weaver, chairman of the machine tool company Brown and Shipman and former chairman of PE Engineering.

Rob Margetts, vice-chairman of ICI, said: "Eutech has now built such a track record of achievement that we believe it is time to give it the opportunity to develop into a major independent provider of engineering services."