The one-minute expert
Your essential companion to this week's big event : ICI
Sunday 20 October 1996
Heavens, no. Former chairman Sir Denys Henderson insisted it stood for Innovative, Competitive, International.
The same Sir Denys who almost lost ICI to Hanson?
Yup - though there was never a formal bid.
The same Sir Denys who had to split ICI into two to get the share price up?
Yup again, though this was of course a strategic move. Nothing to do with Hanson. Sir Denys said so.
He said it stood for Innovative, Competitive, International?
Well it's better than Internet Central Indiana. Just.
Why is it in the news?
Its third-quarter results are out this week. The market believes they won't make pretty reading.
The PET market has gone sour, for one thing.
They sell animals?
No, it's a polymer used to make soft drinks bottles. There's too much of it about and its price has fallen by a quarter this year. ICI warned about that in June; the brokers say it will only make pounds 820m this year, against pounds 950m last time.
ICI was once a great world force, wasn't it?
It was formed in 1926 to divvy up the chemicals world with Du Pont of the US and Germany's IG Farben. No boring monopoly laws then.
So what happened?
ICI got the British Empire, which was a bum deal. IG Farben got broken up after supplying Zyklon B gas to the Nazis but its three successor companies are now each bigger than ICI. And Dupont invented nylons. ICI managers compared themselves with "the senior civil service" even in the Sixties, so it's not surprising things didn't get better.
But didn't thingy with the lurid ties rescue it?
Sir John Harvey-Jones did some good work. He and everyone since have been obsessed with getting into high-margin products, rather than riding the economic cycles like the Germans.
High margins, like pharmaceuticals?
Exactly - except ICI doesn't make them any more. The company that split from it, Zeneca, does instead.
So what does it actually make?
Oh, chemicals, paints, fertilisers and explosives. And PET.
But aren't those cyclical businesses?
So is it innovative, etc?
Not particularly - but the current chairman, Sir Ronnie Hampel, is an extremely nice chap.
That's all right then.
Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence's own witness contradicts athlete's version of events
Oscar Pistorius trial: The case against Oscar Pistorius – and why the prosecution claims his story doesn't add up
South Korea ferry: Captain Lee Joon-seok could face criminal investigation as over 280 remain missing
Peaches Geldof dead: Private funeral for the family and friends of the socialite will take place next week
Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 The Hobbit: There and Back Again set for possible title change
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
iJobs Money & Business
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£221.25 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a well established Inter...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Client Relationship Manager - SQL...
£35000 - £50000 per annum: Pro-Recruitment Group: Take your chance to join the...