Imperial Chemical Industries
Overview
 
Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) was a British chemical company, taken over by AkzoNobel, a Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 conglomerate
Conglomerate (company)
A conglomerate is a combination of two or more corporations engaged in entirely different businesses that fall under one corporate structure , usually involving a parent company and several subsidiaries. Often, a conglomerate is a multi-industry company...

, one of the largest chemical producers in the world. In its heyday, ICI was the largest manufacturing company in the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, and commonly regarded as a "bellwether of the British economy". It produced paints and speciality products (including ingredients for food
Food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

s, specialty polymer
Polymer
A polymer is a large molecule composed of repeating structural units. These subunits are typically connected by covalent chemical bonds...

s, electronic materials, fragrances and flavours).
Encyclopedia
Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) was a British chemical company, taken over by AkzoNobel, a Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 conglomerate
Conglomerate (company)
A conglomerate is a combination of two or more corporations engaged in entirely different businesses that fall under one corporate structure , usually involving a parent company and several subsidiaries. Often, a conglomerate is a multi-industry company...

, one of the largest chemical producers in the world. In its heyday, ICI was the largest manufacturing company in the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, and commonly regarded as a "bellwether of the British economy". It produced paints and speciality products (including ingredients for food
Food
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals...

s, specialty polymer
Polymer
A polymer is a large molecule composed of repeating structural units. These subunits are typically connected by covalent chemical bonds...

s, electronic materials, fragrances and flavours). It employed around 29,000 people and had a turnover of just over £
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

4.8 billion in 2006. The company was independent from 1926 to 2008, headquartered for most of that time in Millbank
Millbank
Millbank is an area of central London in the City of Westminster. Millbank is located by the River Thames, east of Pimlico and south of Westminster...

, London, and was a constituent of the FT30 Index and FTSE 100 Index
FTSE 100 Index
The FTSE 100 Index, also called FTSE 100, FTSE, or, informally, the footsie , is a share index of the 100 most highly capitalised UK companies listed on the London Stock Exchange....

. After the January 2008 change of ownership, AkzoNobel fully integrated ICI's operations.

Development of the business

The Company was founded in December 1926 by way of the merger of four companies – Brunner Mond
Brunner Mond
Tata Chemicals Europe is a UK-based chemicals company that is a subsidiary of Tata Chemicals Limited, itself a part of the India-based Tata Group...

, Nobel Explosives
Nobel Enterprises
Nobel Enterprises is a chemicals business based at Ardeer, near to the North Ayrshire town of Stevenston in Scotland. It specialises in nitrogen-based propellants and explosives and nitrocellulose-based products such as varnishes and inks...

, the United Alkali Company
United Alkali Company
United Alkali Company Limited was a British chemical company formed in 1890. Producer of soda ash by the Leblanc process and used in the glass, textile, soap, and paper industries. It became one of the top four British chemical companies merged in 1926 with Brunner Mond, Nobel Explosives and...

, and British Dyestuffs Corporation
British Dyestuffs Corporation
British Dyestuffs Corporation Ltd was a British company formed in 1919 from the merger of British Dyes Ltd with Levinstein Ltd. The British Government was the company's largest shareholder, and had two directors on the board....

. It established its Head Office at Millbank
Millbank
Millbank is an area of central London in the City of Westminster. Millbank is located by the River Thames, east of Pimlico and south of Westminster...

 in London in 1928.

Competing with DuPont
DuPont
E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company , commonly referred to as DuPont, is an American chemical company that was founded in July 1802 as a gunpowder mill by Eleuthère Irénée du Pont. DuPont was the world's third largest chemical company based on market capitalization and ninth based on revenue in 2009...

 and IG Farben
IG Farben
I.G. Farbenindustrie AG was a German chemical industry conglomerate. Its name is taken from Interessen-Gemeinschaft Farbenindustrie AG . The company was formed in 1925 from a number of major companies that had been working together closely since World War I...

, the new company produced chemicals
Chemical industry
The chemical industry comprises the companies that produce industrial chemicals. Central to the modern world economy, it converts raw materials into more than 70,000 different products.-Products:...

, explosives, fertilisers, insecticide
Insecticide
An insecticide is a pesticide used against insects. They include ovicides and larvicides used against the eggs and larvae of insects respectively. Insecticides are used in agriculture, medicine, industry and the household. The use of insecticides is believed to be one of the major factors behind...

s, dye
Dye
A dye is a colored substance that has an affinity to the substrate to which it is being applied. The dye is generally applied in an aqueous solution, and requires a mordant to improve the fastness of the dye on the fiber....

stuffs, non-ferrous metals, and paints. In its first year turnover was £27 million.

In the 1920s and '30s the company played a key role in the development of new chemical products, including the dyestuff phthalocyanine
Phthalocyanine
Phthalocyanine is an intensely blue-green coloured macrocyclic compound that is widely used in dyeing. Phthalocyanines form coordination complexes with most elements of the periodic table...

 (1929), the acrylic plastic Perspex (1932), Dulux
Dulux
Dulux is an internationally available brand of paint. It is produced by AkzoNobel . The brand name Dulux has been used by both ICI and DuPont since 1931 and was one of the first alkyd-based paints.-History:...

 paints (1932, co-developed with DuPont), polyethylene
Polyethylene
Polyethylene or polythene is the most widely used plastic, with an annual production of approximately 80 million metric tons...

 (1937) and Polyethylene terephthalate
Polyethylene terephthalate
Polyethylene terephthalate , commonly abbreviated PET, PETE, or the obsolete PETP or PET-P, is a thermoplastic polymer resin of the polyester family and is used in synthetic fibers; beverage, food and other liquid containers; thermoforming applications; and engineering resins often in combination...

 fibre known as Terylene (1941).

ICI also owned the Sunbeam motorcycle
Sunbeam (motorcycle)
Sunbeam was a British manufacturing marque that produced bicycles and motorcycles from 1912 to 1956. Originally independent, it was ultimately owned by BSA...

 business, which had come with Nobel Industries, and continued to build motorcycle
Motorcycle
A motorcycle is a single-track, two-wheeled motor vehicle. Motorcycles vary considerably depending on the task for which they are designed, such as long distance travel, navigating congested urban traffic, cruising, sport and racing, or off-road conditions.Motorcycles are one of the most...

s until 1937.

In the 1940s and '50s the Company established its pharmaceutical business and developed a number of key products including
Paludrine
Proguanil
Proguanil is a prophylactic antimalarial drug.Proguanil is effective against sporozoites.Proguanil hydrochloride is marketed as Paludrine by AstraZeneca.-Mechanism:...

 (1940s, an anti-malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

l drug), halothane
Halothane
Halothane is an inhalational general anesthetic. Its IUPAC name is 2-bromo-2-chloro-1,1,1-trifluoroethane. It is the only inhalational anesthetic agent containing a bromine atom; there are several other halogenated anesthesia agents which lack the bromine atom and do contain the fluorine and...

 (1951, an anaesthetic agent), Inderal (1965, a beta-blocker), Tamoxifen
Tamoxifen
Tamoxifen is an antagonist of the estrogen receptor in breast tissue via its active metabolite, hydroxytamoxifen. In other tissues such as the endometrium, it behaves as an agonist, hence tamoxifen may be characterized as a mixed agonist/antagonist...

 (1978, a frequently used drug for breast cancer
Breast cancer
Breast cancer is cancer originating from breast tissue, most commonly from the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply the ducts with milk. Cancers originating from ducts are known as ductal carcinomas; those originating from lobules are known as lobular carcinomas...

),
and PEEK
PEEK
Polyether ether ketone is a colourless organic polymer thermoplastic used in engineering applications.-Synthesis:PEEK polymers are obtained by step-growth polymerization by the dialkylation of bisphenolate salts. Typical is the reaction of 4,4'-difluorobenzophenone with the disodium salt of...

 (1979, a high performance thermoplastic
Thermoplastic
Thermoplastic, also known as a thermosoftening plastic, is a polymer that turns to a liquid when heated and freezes to a very glassy state when cooled sufficiently...

). ICI formed ICI Pharmaceuticals in 1957.

ICI developed a fabric in the 1950s known as crimplene
Crimplene
Crimplene is a thick yarn used to make a fabric of the same name. The resulting cloth is heavy, wrinkle-resistant and retains its shape well. Britain's defunct ICI Fibres laboratory developed the fibre in the early 1950s and it is commonly thought it was named after the Crimple Valley in which the...

. Crimplene is a thick, polyester yarn used to make a fabric of the same name. The resulting cloth is heavy, wrinkle-resistant and retains its shape well. The California-based fashion designer Edith Flagg
Edith Flagg
Edith Flagg is a Romanian-born American fashion designer, former fashion industry executive, and philanthropist.-Early life:...

 was the first to import this fabric from Britain to the USA. During the first two years, ICI gave Flagg a large advertising budget to popularise the fabric across America.

Early pesticide development included: Gramoxone (1962, a herbicide
Herbicide
Herbicides, also commonly known as weedkillers, are pesticides used to kill unwanted plants. Selective herbicides kill specific targets while leaving the desired crop relatively unharmed. Some of these act by interfering with the growth of the weed and are often synthetic "imitations" of plant...

), the insecticides pirimiphos-methyl
Pirimiphos-methyl
Pirimiphos-methyl is a phosphorothioate used as an insecticide. It was originally developed by Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd., now Syngenta, in 1967....

 in 1967 and pirimicarb
Pirimicarb
Pirimicarb is a carbamate insecticide used to control aphids on vegetable, cereal and orchard crops by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase activity. It was originally developed by Imperial Chemical Industries Ltd., now Syngenta, in 1970....

 in 1970, brodifacoum
Brodifacoum
Brodifacoum is a highly lethal vitamin K antagonist anticoagulant poison. In recent years, it has become one of the world's most widely used pesticides...

 (a rodenticide) was developed in 1974; in the late 1970s, ICI was involved in the early development of synthetic pyrethroid
Pyrethroid
A pyrethroid is an organic compound similar to the natural pyrethrins produced by the flowers of pyrethrums . Pyrethroids now constitute a major commercial household insecticides...

 insecticides such as lambda-cyhalothrin.

ICI was confronted with the nationalisation of its operations in Burma on 1 August 1962 as a consequence of the military coup
Burmese Way to Socialism
The Burmese Way to Socialism refers to the ideology of the Socialist regime in Burma, from 1962 to 1988, when the 1962 coup d'état was led by Ne Win and the military to remove U Nu from power...

.
The Company acquired Atlas Chemical Industries Inc., a major US competitor in 1971.

During the 1980s (from 1982 to 1987,) the Company was led by the charisma
Charisma
The term charisma has two senses: 1) compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others, 2) a divinely conferred power or talent. For some theological usages the term is rendered charism, with a meaning the same as sense 2...

tic John Harvey Jones. Under his leadership the Company acquired the Beatrice Chemical Division in 1985 and Glidden Coatings & Resins, a leading paint
Paint
Paint is any liquid, liquefiable, or mastic composition which after application to a substrate in a thin layer is converted to an opaque solid film. One may also consider the digital mimicry thereof...

s business in 1986.

From 1991 till 2007, Reorganisation of the business

In 1991 ICI sold the agricultural and merchandising operations of BritAg and Scottish Agricultural Industries to Norsk Hydro
Norsk Hydro
Norsk Hydro ASA is a Norwegian aluminium and renewable energy company, headquartered in Oslo. Hydro is the fourth largest integrated aluminium company worldwide. It has operations in some 40 countries around the world and is active on all continents. The Norwegian state holds a 43.8 percent...

.

In 1991, the company successfully fought off a hostile takeover bid from the Hanson plc
Hanson plc
Hanson plc is a British based international building materials company, headquartered in Maidenhead. Traded on the London Stock Exchange and a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index for many years, the company was acquired by a division of German rival Heidelberg Cement in August 2007.-History:Hanson...

 conglomerate. It also divested its Soda Ash Products arm to Brunner Mond
Brunner Mond
Tata Chemicals Europe is a UK-based chemicals company that is a subsidiary of Tata Chemicals Limited, itself a part of the India-based Tata Group...

, ending an association with the trade which had existed from the company's inception (inherited from the original Brunner, Mond & Co. Ltd).

In 1993 the company demerged its pharmaceutical bioscience businesses: pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals, specialities, seed
Seed
A seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food. It is the product of the ripened ovule of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants which occurs after fertilization and some growth within the mother plant...

s and biological
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

 products were all transferred into a new and independent company called Zeneca Group (which subsequently merged with Astra AB
Astra AB
Astra AB was a former international pharmaceutical company headquartered in Södertälje, Sweden. Astra was formed in 1913 and merged with the British Zeneca Group in 1999 to form AstraZeneca. Product development was focused on therapeutics for gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and respiratory...

 to form AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca plc is a global pharmaceutical and biologics company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the world's seventh-largest pharmaceutical company measured by revenues and has operations in over 100 countries...

 PLC).

In 1994 Charles Miller Smith was appointed Chief Executive Officer. This was one of the few times that a 'non-ICI man' had led the company, he having previously been a Director at Unilever
Unilever
Unilever is a British-Dutch multinational corporation that owns many of the world's consumer product brands in foods, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products....

. Shortly afterwards the company acquired a number of former Unilever businesses, in an attempt to move away from the company's historical reliance on commodity
Commodity
In economics, a commodity is the generic term for any marketable item produced to satisfy wants or needs. Economic commodities comprise goods and services....

 chemicals.
In 1997 ICI acquired National Starch & Chemical, the specialty chemicals business of Unilever for $8bn. This step was part of a strategy to move away from cyclical bulk chemicals and up the value chain to be a higher growth, higher margin business. Later that year it went on to buy Rutz & Huber, a Swiss
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 paints business.

Having taken on some £4 billion of debt to finance these acquisitions, the company had to sell off its commodity chemicals businesses.
  • Disposals of bulk chemicals businesses at that time included the sale of its Australian subsidiary, ICI Australia
    Orica
    Orica is a multinational corporation that manufactures various chemical products. It is the largest supplier of mining explosives in the world. -History:...

    , for £1bn in 1997, and of its polyester
    Polyester
    Polyester is a category of polymers which contain the ester functional group in their main chain. Although there are many polyesters, the term "polyester" as a specific material most commonly refers to polyethylene terephthalate...

     chemicals business to DuPont
    DuPont
    E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company , commonly referred to as DuPont, is an American chemical company that was founded in July 1802 as a gunpowder mill by Eleuthère Irénée du Pont. DuPont was the world's third largest chemical company based on market capitalization and ninth based on revenue in 2009...

     for $3 billion also in 1997.
  • The following year it bought Acheson, an electronic chemicals business.
  • In 2000 ICI sold its petroleum
    Petroleum
    Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

     business at Teesside
    Teesside
    Teesside is the name given to the conurbation in the north east of England made up of the towns of Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Redcar, Billingham and surrounding settlements near the River Tees. It was also the name of a local government district between 1968 and 1974—the County Borough of...

     and Tioxide, its titanium dioxide
    Titanium dioxide
    Titanium dioxide, also known as titanium oxide or titania, is the naturally occurring oxide of titanium, chemical formula . When used as a pigment, it is called titanium white, Pigment White 6, or CI 77891. Generally it comes in two different forms, rutile and anatase. It has a wide range of...

     subsidiary, to Huntsman Corporation for £1.7 billion. It also sold the last of its industrial chemicals businesses to Ineos
    Ineos
    INEOS Group Limited is a privately owned multinational chemicals company headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland and with its registered office in Lyndhurst, United Kingdom...

     for £0.3 billion.
  • In 2006 the Company sold Quest International
    Quest International
    Quest International was a major producer of flavors and fragrances with sales of £560 million in 2005 before its acquisition by rival Givaudan. Quest created and marketed flavours and fragrance concepts and solutions for the fast moving consumer goods industries...

    , its flavours and Fragrances business, to Givaudan
    Givaudan
    Givaudan is a Swiss manufacturer of flavorings and fragrances. As of 2008, it is the world's largest company in the industry.-Background:The company's scents and flavors are developed most often for food and beverage makers, but they are also used frequently in household goods, as well as grooming...

    , for £1.2 billion and Uniqema, its textile auxillaries business, to Croda International
    Croda International
    Croda International plc is a chemicals company based at Snaith in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.-History:...

    , for £410 million.

Having sold off much of its historically profitable commodities businesses, and many of the new speciality businesses, which it had failed to integrate, the company consisted mainly of the Dulux paints business, which quickly found itself the subject of a takeover by Akzo Nobel.

2007, Takeover by Akzo Nobel

Dutch firm Akzo Nobel
Akzo Nobel
Akzo Nobel N.V., trading as AkzoNobel, is a Dutch multinational, active in the fields of decorative paints, performance coatings and specialty chemicals. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the company has activities in more than 80 countries, and employs approximately 55,000 people. Sales in 2010 were EUR...

 (owner of Crown Berger paints) bid £7.2 billion (€10.66 billion or $14.5 billion US) for ICI in June 2007. An area of concern about a potential deal was ICI's British pension fund
Pension fund
A pension fund is any plan, fund, or scheme which provides retirement income.Pension funds are important shareholders of listed and private companies. They are especially important to the stock market where large institutional investors dominate. The largest 300 pension funds collectively hold...

, which had future liabilities of more than £9 billion at the time. Regulatory issues in the UK and other markets where Dulux
Dulux
Dulux is an internationally available brand of paint. It is produced by AkzoNobel . The brand name Dulux has been used by both ICI and DuPont since 1931 and was one of the first alkyd-based paints.-History:...

 and Crown Paints brands each have significant market share were also a cause for concern for the boards of ICI and Akzo Nobel. In the UK, any combined operation without divestment
Divestment
In finance and economics, divestment or divestiture is the reduction of some kind of asset for either financial or ethical objectives or sale of an existing business by a firm...

s would have seen Akzo Nobel have a 54% market share in the paint
Paint
Paint is any liquid, liquefiable, or mastic composition which after application to a substrate in a thin layer is converted to an opaque solid film. One may also consider the digital mimicry thereof...

 market. The initial bid was rejected by the ICI board and the majority of shareholders. However, a subsequent bid for £8 billion (€11.82 billion) was accepted by ICI in August 2007, pending approval by regulators.

At 8.00am on 2 January 2008 completion of the takeover of ICI PLC by Akzo Nobel NV was announced. Shareholders of ICI received either £6.70 in cash or Akzo Nobel loan notes to the value of £6.70 per 1 nominal ICI share. The adhesives business of ICI was transferred to Henkel
Henkel
Henkel AG & Co. KGaA is an multinational company headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany.The company operates in three business areas: Home Care , Personal Care ,...

 as a result of the deal, while Akzo agreed to sell its Crown Paints subsidiary to satisfy the concerns of the European Commissioner for Competition.

The areas of concern regarding the ICI UK pension scheme were addressed by ICI and Akzo.

Operations

ICI operated a number of chemical sites around the world. In the UK the main plants were situated as follows:
  • Billingham
    Billingham
    Billingham is a town in the unitary authority of Stockton on Tees, in north east England, with a population of 35,765 . It was founded circa 650 by a group of Saxons known as Billa's people, which is where the name Billingham is thought to have originated...

     (in Stockton-on-Tees
    Stockton-on-Tees
    Stockton-on-Tees is a market town in north east England. It is the major settlement in the unitary authority and borough of Stockton-on-Tees. For ceremonial purposes, the borough is split between County Durham and North Yorkshire as it also incorporates a number of smaller towns including...

    ) and Wilton
    Wilton, Redcar and Cleveland
    Wilton is a small village in the unitary authority of Redcar and Cleveland and the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire, England.-Geography:It is located between Redcar and Eston at the base of Eston Hills - to the east of Eston Nab. The village is noted for its golf course and castle, Wilton...

     (in present day Redcar and Cleveland
    Redcar and Cleveland
    The borough of Redcar & Cleveland is a unitary authority in the ceremonial county of North Yorkshire, England consisting of Redcar, Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Guisborough, and small towns such as Brotton, Eston, Skelton and Loftus. It had a resident population of 139,132 in 2001, and is part of the Tees...

    ): ICI used the site to manufacture fertilisers in the 1920s and went on to produce plastics at Billingham
    Billingham
    Billingham is a town in the unitary authority of Stockton on Tees, in north east England, with a population of 35,765 . It was founded circa 650 by a group of Saxons known as Billa's people, which is where the name Billingham is thought to have originated...

     in 1934. During World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

     it manufactured synthetic ammonia
    Ammonia
    Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula . It is a colourless gas with a characteristic pungent odour. Ammonia contributes significantly to the nutritional needs of terrestrial organisms by serving as a precursor to food and fertilizers. Ammonia, either directly or...

     for explosives. The ICI Billingham Division was split into the ICI Heavy Organic Chemicals Division and ICI Agricultural Division in the 1960s. From 1971 to 1988 ICI Physics and Radioisotopes Section (later known as Tracerco) operated a small General Atomics
    General Atomics
    General Atomics is a nuclear physics and defense contractor headquartered in San Diego, California. General Atomics’ research into fission and fusion matured into competencies in related technologies, allowing the company to expand into other fields of research...

     TRIGA
    TRIGA
    TRIGA is a class of small nuclear reactor designed and manufactured by General Atomics. The design team for TRIGA was led by the physicist Freeman Dyson.TRIGA is the acronym of Training, Research, Isotopes, General Atomics.-Design:...

     Mark I nuclear reactor
    Nuclear reactor
    A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate and control a sustained nuclear chain reaction. Most commonly they are used for generating electricity and for the propulsion of ships. Usually heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid , which runs through turbines that power either ship's...

     at its Billingham factory for the production of radioisotopes used in flow and level instruments etc.

  • Blackley
    Blackley
    Blackley is an area of the city of Manchester, in Greater Manchester, England. It is north of Manchester city centre, by a meander of the River Irk. Further north is Middleton...

     (in Manchester
    Manchester
    Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

    ): ICI used the site to manufacture dyestuffs. The dye business, known as the ICI Dyestuffs Division in the 1960s, went through several reorganizations. Through the years it was combined with other specialty chemicals businesses and became ICI Colours and Fine Chemicals and then ICI Specialties.

  • Runcorn
    Runcorn
    Runcorn is an industrial town and cargo port within the borough of Halton in the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. In 2009, its population was estimated to be 61,500. The town is on the southern bank of the River Mersey where the estuary narrows to form Runcorn Gap. Directly to the north...

     (in Cheshire
    Cheshire
    Cheshire is a ceremonial county in North West England. Cheshire's county town is the city of Chester, although its largest town is Warrington. Other major towns include Widnes, Congleton, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Runcorn, Macclesfield, Winsford, Northwich, and Wilmslow...

    ): ICI used the site to manufacture chlorine
    Chlorine
    Chlorine is the chemical element with atomic number 17 and symbol Cl. It is the second lightest halogen, found in the periodic table in group 17. The element forms diatomic molecules under standard conditions, called dichlorine...

     and caustic soda. For many years it was known as ICI Mond Division but later became part of the ICI Chemicals and Polymers Division. The Runcorn site was also responsible for the development of the HiGEE and Spinning Disc Reactor concepts, which were developed by Professor Colin Ramshaw and which led to the concept of Process Intensification
    Micro process engineering
    Micro process engineering is the science of conducting chemical orphysical processes inside small volumina,typically inside channels with diameters of less than 1 mm or other structures with sub-millimeter dimensions....

    : research into these novel technologies is now being pursued by the Process Intensification Group at Newcastle University.

  • Winnington and Wallerscote (in Northwich
    Northwich
    Northwich is a town and civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. It lies in the heart of the Cheshire Plain, at the confluence of the rivers Weaver and Dane...

    , Cheshire
    Cheshire
    Cheshire is a ceremonial county in North West England. Cheshire's county town is the city of Chester, although its largest town is Warrington. Other major towns include Widnes, Congleton, Crewe, Ellesmere Port, Runcorn, Macclesfield, Winsford, Northwich, and Wilmslow...

    ): It was here that ICI manufactured sodium carbonate
    Sodium carbonate
    Sodium carbonate , Na2CO3 is a sodium salt of carbonic acid. It most commonly occurs as a crystalline heptahydrate, which readily effloresces to form a white powder, the monohydrate. Sodium carbonate is domestically well-known for its everyday use as a water softener. It can be extracted from the...

     (soda ash) and its various by-products such as bicarbonate of soda, and sodium sesquicarbonate
    Sodium sesquicarbonate
    Sodium sesquicarbonate Na3H2, which is a double salt of sodium bicarbonate and sodium carbonate, and has a needle-like crystal structure...

    . The Winnington site, first built in 1873 by the entrepreneurs John Tomlinson Brunner
    John Tomlinson Brunner
    Sir John Tomlinson Brunner, 1st Baronet, DL was a British chemical industrialist and Liberal Party politician. At Hutchinson's alkali works in Widnes he rose to the position of general manager...

     and Ludwig Mond
    Ludwig Mond
    Dr Ludwig Mond , was a German-born chemist and industrialist who took British nationality.-Education and career:...

    , was also the base for the former the company Brunner, Mond & Co. Ltd and, after the merger which created ICI, the powerful and influential Alkali Division. It was at the laboratories here, in 1933, that polythene was first discovered by accident during experiments into high pressure reactions. Wallerscote was built in 1926, its construction delayed by the First World War, and became one of the largest factories devoted to a single product (soda ash) in the world. However, the decreasing relevance of the soda ash trade to ICI in favour of newer products such as paints and plastics, meant that by 1984 the Wallerscote site was closed, and thereafter mostly demolished. The laboratory where polythene was discovered was sold off and became home to a variety of businesses including a go-kart track and paintballing, and the Winnington Works were divested to the newly formed company, Brunner Mond
    Brunner Mond
    Tata Chemicals Europe is a UK-based chemicals company that is a subsidiary of Tata Chemicals Limited, itself a part of the India-based Tata Group...

    , in 1991.

  • Ardeer
    Ardeer, Scotland
    Ardeer lies at the head of the Ardeer peninsula, now part of Stevenston, North Ayrshire, and was a dominant global supplier of explosives to the mining and quarrying industries and a major player in the design and development of products for the chemical and defence industries during the 20th...

     (in Stevenston
    Stevenston
    Stevenston is a town in North Ayrshire, Scotland. It is one of the 'Three Towns' along with Ardrossan and Saltcoats.-History:The town is named after Stephan Loccard or Lockhart, whose father obtained a grant of land from Richard de Morville, Lord Cunninghame and Constable of Scotland, around 1170....

    , Ayrshire): ICI Nobel used the site to manufacture dynamite
    Dynamite
    Dynamite is an explosive material based on nitroglycerin, initially using diatomaceous earth , or another absorbent substance such as powdered shells, clay, sawdust, or wood pulp. Dynamites using organic materials such as sawdust are less stable and such use has been generally discontinued...

     and other explosives and nitrocellulose
    Nitrocellulose
    Nitrocellulose is a highly flammable compound formed by nitrating cellulose through exposure to nitric acid or another powerful nitrating agent. When used as a propellant or low-order explosive, it is also known as guncotton...

    -based products. For a time, the site also produced nylon
    Nylon
    Nylon is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides, first produced on February 28, 1935, by Wallace Carothers at DuPont's research facility at the DuPont Experimental Station...

     and nitric acid
    Nitric acid
    Nitric acid , also known as aqua fortis and spirit of nitre, is a highly corrosive and toxic strong acid.Colorless when pure, older samples tend to acquire a yellow cast due to the accumulation of oxides of nitrogen. If the solution contains more than 86% nitric acid, it is referred to as fuming...

    . Nobel Enterprises
    Nobel Enterprises
    Nobel Enterprises is a chemicals business based at Ardeer, near to the North Ayrshire town of Stevenston in Scotland. It specialises in nitrogen-based propellants and explosives and nitrocellulose-based products such as varnishes and inks...

     was sold in 2002 to Inabata.

  • Slough
    Slough
    Slough is a borough and unitary authority within the ceremonial county of Royal Berkshire, England. The town straddles the A4 Bath Road and the Great Western Main Line, west of central London...

     (in Berkshire
    Berkshire
    Berkshire is a historic county in the South of England. It is also often referred to as the Royal County of Berkshire because of the presence of the royal residence of Windsor Castle in the county; this usage, which dates to the 19th century at least, was recognised by the Queen in 1957, and...

    ): Headquarters of ICI Paints Division.

  • Welwyn Garden City
    Welwyn Garden City
    -Economy:Ever since its inception as garden city, Welwyn Garden City has attracted a strong commercial base with several designated employment areas. Among the companies trading in the town are:*Air Link Systems*Baxter*British Lead Mills*Carl Zeiss...

     (in Hertfordshire
    Hertfordshire
    Hertfordshire is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England. The county town is Hertford.The county is one of the Home Counties and lies inland, bordered by Greater London , Buckinghamshire , Bedfordshire , Cambridgeshire and...

    ): Headquarters of ICI Plastics Division until the early 1990s.

See also

  • Eley Brothers
    Eley Brothers
    Eley Brothers were a manufacturer of firearms cartridges at the Eley's Cartridge Factory, located in Edmonton and bordered by the River Lee Navigation and the Great Eastern Railway at Angel Road.- History :...

  • IMI plc
    IMI plc
    IMI plc , formerly Imperial Metal Industries, is a British based engineering company headquartered in Birmingham, England. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.-History:...

  • Kynoch
    Kynoch
    Kynoch was a manufacturer of ammunition, later incorporated into ICI but remaining as a brand name for sporting cartridges.-History:Kynoch was established in Witton in Birmingham in 1862 by Scottish entrepreneur George Kynoch when he opened a percussion cap factory in Witton. In 1895 he built an...

  • Pharmaceutical industry in the United Kingdom
    Pharmaceutical industry in the United Kingdom
    The pharmaceutical industry in the United Kingdom directly employs around 72,000 people and in 2007 contributed £8.4 billion to the UK's GDP and invested a total of £3.9 billion in research and development...


External links

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