ICI's shares fell 13 per cent and its earnings forecasts were shaved in the wake of its failure to sell its Crosfield subsidiary and on concern over debt levels. US-based WR Grace & Co. is not to go ahead with an agreed offer of $455m (pounds 268m) for Crosfield, first announced in April, because of regulatory problems. The sale was aimed at cutting ICI's pounds 4.4bn debt and was part of ICI's transformation into a speciality chemical company from its focus on commodity chemicals.

The stalled sale comes amid falling asset values across the chemical industry, prompted by emerging-market recessions, fueling speculation that Grace sought to renegotiate the price for Crosfield. Copyright: IOS & Bloomberg