ICI is on the verge of selling its acrylics business to a British-led consortium for £500m. The sale would bring ICI a step closer to its goal of becoming a speciality chemicals business.
The consortium is reported to be led by Jim Ratcliffe, who seven years ago organised a £40m management buy-out of Inspec, BP’s speciality chemicals business. He resigned from Inspec last year after Laporte bought the group for £611m.
ICI’s acrylics business is based in Everberg, Belgium, but it operates two sites in the UK – Billingham in Teesside and Darwen in Lancashire – employing several hundred people.
If the deal goes through ICI still has to sell its Runcorn-based chlorine plant and the Pakistan-based purified terephthalic acid operation. These businesses, along with some minor operations, have a turnover of around £1bn.