This Southampton-based company began making Perspex – known as Lucite in America – in the 1930s. It was a division of the chemicals giant ICI before it was bought by Charterhouse Development Capital for £505m in 1999. Run by chief executive Ian Lambert, Lucite recently opened a new factory in Shanghai to meet demand for plastic for baths, sinks and shop signs. Its production rose to a record in 2005, when sales were £780m.
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