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ICI seals deal with Orica

Calcutta, Nov. 6: ICI India today informed stock exchanges that it had closed the deal to sell its 51 per cent in erstwhile subsidiary Indian Explosives to Orica Investment of Australia for Rs 66.64 crore.

ICI inducted Orica as a partner in Indian Explosives in September 1999. Orica and ICI had agreed in September 1999 that the latter could sell its remaining stake in Indian Explosives within three years from September 2001.

When ICI eventually exercised its ‘put’ option, Orica moved the Mumbai High Court seeking modification of the shareholders’ agreement on grounds that ICI had not fulfilled its obligations. After a brief legal battle, the two firms buried the hatchet and in late July, Orica agreed to buy out the 76.5 lakh shares that ICI held in Indian Explosives for Rs 87.11 apiece.

The ICI Group has been restructuring its operations worldwide. In India, ICI has divested a number of businesses in the last few years, and now concentrates on decorative paints and speciality chemicals.

The radical restructuring of its operations began in 1998 when ICI exited from its joint ventures with Nalco Chemicals and Zeneca of the UK in 1998.

Subsequently, it sold off its pharmaceuticals, polyurethane and catalyst businesses in India. It is now looking to divest its rubber chemicals business as well.

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