ICL has called off its long-running plans to float on the London Stock Exchange this year, prompting the resignation of chief executive Keith Todd.
The services giant said in a statement today that it has decided to suspend the flotation indefinitely due to "current difficult trading conditions in the IT industry and the company's financial performance".
ICL's flotation has been talked about since 1990, when Japanese firm Fujitsu bought 80 per cent of the company for £743m. In 1998, ICL confirmed that it would float in late 2000, but amid a weak financial performance, speculation that the flotation would be called off has mounted.
The company said: "Fujitsu and the board of ICL believe that it is important for ICL to concentrate on growing and strengthening the business in the next phase of its development without the additional challenges involved in preparing for a flotation."
An ICL spokesman added that "we didn't want to end up floating and not achieving the right price".
Todd's resignation is directly due to the abandoned flotation plans. "As he'd been in very close association with the flotation this year, he felt it appropriate to resign," said the spokesman.
Richard Christou, ICL's director of commercial and legal affairs, has been appointed deputy chief executive and will assume the role of acting chief executive.
Anthony Miller, an analyst at Richard Holway, said that it was a sad decision for ICL, but not a surprise one. He said elements of ICL, such as its e-services, outsourcing and integration businesses were all strong, but were blighted by weaker parts of the business such as its PC reseller unit.
"We've been saying all along that we truly believed that there were some very excellent parts of ICL and that it would have been a better idea to do a trade sale or even float them separately," said Miller.
"To give Keith immense credit, he has stood by the strategy until the last minute. Now it looks like a complete rethink on strategy. It will be a hard-nosed decision, but it needs to become a completely different ICL," he added.
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