ICI India Ltd manufactures and markets paints and speciality chemicals. Their manufacturing activities in India commenced in 1939 with the setting up of Alkali and Chemical Corporation of India Ltd in Rishra, West Bengal. In the year 1954, as the result of an agreement with the Government of India, the set up Indian Explosives Ltd in Gomia. Chemical and Fibres of India Ltd came up in Thane in 1963, manufacturing polyester staple fibre.
The company began their fertilizer manufacturing operations in Panki near Kanpur in the year 1969. This was the largest private sector investment in fertilizers in India. The company established ICI Research and Technology Centre in Thane in the year 1976 and a Crop Protection Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals unit came up in Ennore, near Chennai in 1978.
In the year 1984, the ICI group companies in India were merged into one corporate which is India's largest mergers of that time. In the year 1987, Nalco Chemicals India Ltd was formed with Nalco Chemical Company USA and ICI India Ltd, each holding 40% of the equity.
In the year 1993, the company divested their seeds, fibers and fertilizers businesses and in the year 1995, agrochemicals business was transferred to a joint venture company with Zeneca Ltd of UK. In the year 1996, the company established a joint venture with The Ensign-Bickford Company of USA namely, Initiating Explosives Systems India Ltd for the manufacture of Initiating Explosives Systems.
In the year 1997, the company commissioned paint plant and polyurethanes systems house in Thane. They also commissioned the Uniqema Innovation Centre at Thane. In the year 1998, the company exited form their joint ventures with Nalco Chemical Company, USA and Zeneca, UK, as part of their continuing restructuring exercise. In March 1998, the company commissioned the new state-of-art 20 million litres per annum automotive refinish and decorative paint manufacturing facility at Mohali near Chandigarh.
During the year 1998-99, one of the company's division, Pharmaceuticals divested some Animal Health brands to focus more strongly on their core areas of Cardiovasculars and Anaesthetics. In September 1999, the explosives business was transferred to Indian Explosives Ltd, a joint venture between the company and Orica Investments Pty Ltd, Australia.
During the year 2000-01, the Polyurethane business was sold to the Huntsman Group of USA in line with their strategic objective. The company in association with Quest International and Hindustan Lever Ltd formed a joint venture to make and sell fragrances, flavours and food ingredients. In May 2001, the company transferred the Motors and Industrial Paints business to a Joint Venture with Berger Paints India Ltd, from which they exited in the year 2002.
In the year 2002, the Pharmaceuticals business of the company was divested to Nicholas Piramal India Ltd and catalyst business divested to Johnson Matthey Group. The company divested their 51% shareholding in Indian Explosives Ltd and thus Indian Explosives Ltd and Initiating Explosives System India Ltd ceased to be the company's subsidiaries with effect form November 6, 2003.
During the year 2003-04, the company launched Duette, a premium interior emulsion paint with a two-tone finish in select market. In March 2004, the Nitrocellulose and Trading businesses were divested to Nitrex Chemicals India Pvt Ltd in which the company holds a minority stake.
During the year 2004-05, the company launched two premium products namely WaterShield Max and Tile Shield in the paint segment. Also, they commissioned a new polymer plant during the year. In December 2005, the Rubber Chemicals business was transferred to a subsidiary of PMC Group International, USA.
The company acquired the remaining shares in their subsidiary Quest International India Ltd in two lots from the other shareholders, making it a wholly owned subsidiary company since October 2006. In November 2006, they sold their 100% equity shareholding in Quest International Ltd to Givaudan (India) Pvt Ltd. In December 2006, the company acquired controlling interest in Polyinks Ltd, Hyderabad, which manufactures Hot Melt Adhesives. In March 2007, the Advanced Refinish Paints Business (2K) was divested to an affiliate of PPG Industries, USA. Also, Uniqema business was divested to Croda Group of UK during the financial year.
During the year 2007-08, the company launched low cost Acrylic Distemper, Primer and Putty in the pain segment. They entered into a contract with Henkel CAC Pvt Ltd, an affiliate of the Henkel Group, to divest their Adhesives business. AkzoNobel NV, Netherlands has become the owner of the entire equity capital of Imperial Chemical Industries, UK with effect from January 2, 2008, through a scheme of arrangement. Consequently, the company became an AkzoNobel company.