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.
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 3 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
- 4 UK weather: 'Coldest night of the year' tonight as freezing temperatures plummet to -10C
- 5 Game of Thrones is most-pirated TV show of 2014
President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations
Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
AirAsia flight QZ8501 missing: Search for plane carrying 162 passengers from Indonesia to Singapore suspended overnight
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
iJobs Money & Business
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...
Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...
Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...