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Orica House

Orica

Orica is a multinational corporation that manufactures various chemical products.

History

Initially formed over 130 years ago as Jones, Scott and Co., a supplier of explosives during the Victorian gold rush, the company was bought by Nobel. Nobel later merged with several British chemical manufacturers to form Imperial Chemical Industries, and in 1928 the Australian operation was renamed Imperial Chemical Industries of Australia and New Zealand (ICIANZ), which became ICI Australia in 1971. In July 1997, ICI sold its stake in the Australian operation, which then changed its name to Orica, and the new company acquired ICI's global explosives operations. The aim was to find a short, sharp and memorable name that gave an impression of the business. Feedback indicated that the name Orica evoked words such as the future, knowledge, expertise and technology, all of which were considered positive attributes. Unofficially, the name "Orica" is said to be derived from "Originally ICI Australia".

Current position

Orica now operates four primary businesses:

  • The mining services division primarily supplies industrial explosives, and the associated detonation systems and services, to mining companies across many countries. It also supplies chemicals used in mining. It recently acquired the operations of its competitor Dyno Nobel in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa to become the largest supplier of commercial explosives in the world.
  • Orica Chemicals supply a wide range of chemicals, including plastics, adhesives, solvents, pool chemicals, and many, many others, primarily to Australia and New Zealand. They are now attempting to expand into Indonesia and China.
  • Orica Chemnet is a leading Australasian chemical distributor. This division of Orica uses product sourcing and supply chain networks to import, source or manufacture product for inclusion in a range of common consumables.
  • Orica Consumer products manufacture and sell a wide range of consumer chemical products, such as Dulux paints (amongst many other brands), Selleys adhesives, car care products, garden products (under the recently-acquired Yates brand), originally in Australia and New Zealand but now expanding into various south-east Asian markets.

Orica's annual revenue is approximately $5.2 billion AUD, with a market capitalization of about $8.1 billion AUD. The company employs about 13,000 people worldwide. Net profit after tax was 326 million AUD in 2004.

  • Up until May 2005 Orica owned 70% of Incitec Pivot Limited (ASX IPL), the largest supplier of chemical fertilizers in Australia. Initially a 56.5% stake was sold via an institutional placement underwritten by Macquarie Equity Capital Markets Limited on 10 May 2006. The remaining 13.5% stake was sold as part of a share buy back from IPL, following IPL shareholder approval on 6 July 2006.

The managing director of Orica is Graeme Liebelt, formerly Executive Director & CEO Mining Services division. Former managing director Malcolm Broomhead retired on 31 August 2005 due to health reasons. The board chairman is Donald Mercer, a former executive with Royal Dutch Shell and previously the managing director of ANZ.

Orica House

Once Australia's tallest building, the former ICI Building in East Melbourne, now Orica House, was significant as Australia's tallest during the 1950s and was at the forefront of the high-rise boom in Australia's cities in the second half of the Twentieth Century.

It is one of the few post-war office buildings to be found on the Victorian Heritage Register.

Tragedy in Coahuila, Mexico

About 28 confirmed people killed and over 250 injured are the result of an accident between a pick-up and a trailer that was transporting about 25 metric tons of ammonium nitrate for the company Orica near the cities of Monclova and Cuatro Cienegas.

Contamination of the Botany Aquifer, Sydney Australia

Production of chlorinated solvents over many years by ICI has resulted in significant contamination of the Botany Aquifer, a high quality sand aquifer located below the eastern suburbs of Sydney. Orica has built a A$167M Groundwater Treatment Plant to clean up this contamination.

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