IMI plc (LSEIMI), formerly Imperial Metal Industries, is a British-based engineering company headquartered in Birmingham, England. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.

IMI plc
TypePublic company
ISINGB00BGLP8L22 Edit this on Wikidata
HeadquartersBirmingham, England, UK
Key people
Lord Smith (Chairman)
Roy Twite (CEO)
RevenueIncrease £2,049 million (2022)[1]
Increase £364 million (2022)[1]
Increase £226 million (2022)[1]
Number of employees
10,100 (2023)[2]


The company was founded by Scottish entrepreneur George Kynoch who opened a percussion cap factory in Witton, West Midlands in 1862, trading as Kynoch.[3] The business soon diversified, manufacturing goods ranging from soap and bicycle components to non-ferrous metals, but by the early 20th century it had developed particular expertise in metallurgy.[3] After World War I it merged with Nobel Industries.[3] In 1926 the company acquired Eley Brothers, an ammunition business.[4] The company, by then known as Nobel Explosives, was one of the four businesses that merged in 1927 to create Imperial Chemical Industries.[3] The Witton site became the head office of ICI Metals.[3] During the Second World War the Witton site was used for the development and production of uranium for the Tube Alloys project.[5]

In the 1950s the company's researchers perfected the process for producing titanium on a commercial basis.[3] In 1958 ICI Metals bought 50% of Yorkshire Imperial Metals: it acquired the other 50% four years later.[6]

The name Imperial Metal Industries Limited (IMI for short) was adopted on the 100th anniversary of the firm in 1962.[3] The company was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1966.[3] Initially ICI retained a majority holding, but in 1978 IMI became fully independent.[3] In the 1990s the Company disposed of its more basic businesses such as metal smelting and metal founding.[3]

In 2003, IMI moved from the Witton site to new headquarters close to Birmingham Airport.[7]

The company announced in October 2013 that a decade-long programme of transformation had been completed with the disposal of two non-core subsidiaries to Berkshire Hathaway for £690m.[8] The disposal of the Cornelius Group, a beverage-dispensing machine business, together with the disposal of a marketing intelligence business, would enable the company to focus on its control valve making business.[9]

In November 2022, it was announced IMI had acquired the Blackburn-based smart thermostatic control manufacturer, Heatmiser, for £110 million.[10]

Business platformsEdit

Former IMI entrance at Perry Barr

The company now has three business divisions:[11]


  1. ^ a b c "Annual Results 2022" (PDF). IMI. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
  2. ^ "IMI at a Glance". IMI plc. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "History". IMI. Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  4. ^ "About us". Eley. Archived from the original on 11 March 2014. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  5. ^ The Pre-Harwell Era. New Scientist. 15 August 1957.
  6. ^ "I.C.I. and Yorkshire Copper Works", The Times, 4 January 1958, p. 12
  7. ^ Records of IMI [Imperial Metal Industries] PLC and subsidiary companies, 1865–1973, Walsall Local History Centre (Reference Code: 1000)
  8. ^ "IMI boss says decade-long transformation complete". The Telegraph. 16 October 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  9. ^ "Berkshire Hathaway buys UK's IMI". The Telegraph. 17 October 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  10. ^ "Smart thermostat manufacturer set to be acquired for £110m |". West Midlands. 8 November 2022. Retrieved 8 November 2022.
  11. ^ "Our businesses". IMI. Retrieved 10 March 2014.

External linksEdit