ICI FD to unveil #315m profit

City analysts were seeking comfort in the words of ICI finance chief Alan Spall as he unveils the 1998 results of the troubled chemical giant.

The name of the group’s next chief executive could also be announced. While Spall is a potential candidate, a more likely bet is thought to be Brendan O’Neill, ICI’s chief operating officer.

The current chief executive, Charles Miller Smith, is filling the shoes of ICI chairman, Sir Ronnie Hampel, who is due to step down in April.

Hampel was chairman of the committee which produced the Hampel Corporate Governance report.

A spokesman this week said there was no reason to suggest ICI’s pre-exceptional pre-tax profit would be less than the #315m the group predicted last month, when the planned #600m sale of its Tioxide business collapsed. The previous year’s profit was #518m. Analysts will be more concerned about how the group will deal with its #4.1bn debt mountain.

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