Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) was a British chemical manufacturing company from 1926 until 2008.
In its heyday ICI was the largest manufacturing company in the British Empire, and commonly regarded as a “bellwether of the British economy.” It produced paints and speciality products (including ingredients for food, speciality polymers, electronic materials, fragrances and flavours).
The company was founded in 1926 from the merger of four companies : Brunner Mond, Nobel Explosives, The United Alkali Co., and British Dyestuffs Corporation.
The head office was established at Millbank in London in 1928.
The new company produced chemicals, explosives, fertilisers, insecticides, dyestuffs and paints. In the 1920s and 30s ICI played a key role in the development of new chemical products, including the acrylic plastic Perspex (1932), Dulux paints (1932) and polyethylene (1937).
In the 1940s and 50s the company established its pharmaceutical business and formed ICI Pharmaceuticals in 1957.
In 2006 ICI had a total workforce of around 29,000 people and had a turnover of just over £4.8 billion. In 2008 ICI was taken over by a Dutch conglomerate called AkzoNobel.