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A Brief History of ACI 

Advanced Chemical Industries (ACI) stands as a prominent and dynamic conglomerate, deeply woven into the fabric of Bangladesh's economic landscape. 

With roots tracing back to the establishment of a branch by the British multinational Imperial Chemical Industries in East Pakistan, ACI has evolved into a multifaceted entity, playing a pivotal role in Bangladesh's industrial and commercial sphere. 

As one of the largest conglomerates in Bangladesh, ACI brings to the forefront a rich multinational heritage, marked by a commitment to innovation, quality, and societal well-being. 

Operating through a strategic framework composed of four distinct business units, namely ACI Pharmaceuticals, ACI Consumer Brands, ACI Agribusinesses, and ACI Retail Chain, the conglomerate showcases a comprehensive and diversified approach to meeting the varied needs of a growing and dynamic market. 

History Behind The Building Of ACI 

Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) was a prominent British chemical company, holding the position of the largest manufacturer in Britain for a significant part of its existence. Its inception took place in 1926 through the amalgamation of four major British chemical companies. 

From its beginning, ICI has extended its operations globally as a multinational corporation. In line with this tradition, ICI (India) Ltd. initiated its endeavors as a subsidiary in the Indian subcontinent. Post the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947, the Karachi office transformed, emerging as ICI (Pakistan) Ltd. In 1968, the company relocated to the then East Pakistan. Following the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, ICI (Pakistan) established its presence in the newly formed nation, giving rise to ICI Bangladesh Manufactures Ltd. in 1973. The company secured a listing on the Dhaka Stock Exchange in 1976. Subsequently, in 1992, ICI, the parent company, divested 70% of its shares to local stakeholders. Following this strategic move, ICI Bangladesh transitioned into ACI and continued its operations in Bangladesh.

ACI has primarily engaged in the pharmaceuticals and pest control products sectors. However, over time, the company diversified its portfolio by establishing a series of subsidiary companies in various segments. Furthermore, ACI has maintained a robust presence in the domestic pharmaceutical market for more than three decades. In addition to satisfying domestic demand, the company actively exports medicines to 30 countries spanning four continents. Ongoing regulatory initiatives are in progress to facilitate business expansion into over 15 countries in Africa and Central America.


  • 1926: Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), a British multinational, was formed through the merger of four leading British chemical companies.
  • 1947: Following the independence of India and Pakistan, the Karachi office of ICI (India) Ltd. is renamed ICI (Pakistan) Ltd.
  • 1968: ICI (Pakistan) Ltd. relocates to the then East Pakistan.
  • 1971: After the independence of Bangladesh, ICI (Pakistan) established operations in Bangladesh, leading to the formation of ICI Bangladesh Manufactures Ltd.
  • 1976: ICI Bangladesh Manufactures Ltd. is listed on the Dhaka Stock Exchange.
  • 1992: ICI Plc, the parent company, divests 70% of its shares to local shareholders.
  • 1992: Following the divestment, ICI Bangladesh is rebranded as Advanced Chemical Industries (ACI) Limited and continues its operations in Bangladesh.
  • 1994: Started ACI’s first trading of shares. 
  • 1995: ACI listed with the Chittagong Stock Exchange. 
  • 1997: In its initial phase, the brand comprised solely antiseptic liquids and creams, however, in 1997, the product line expanded to incorporate hand wash. Subsequently, within ACI's toiletries division, Savlon introduced soaps, hand sanitizers, and wipes.
  • 2000: In the year 2000, ACI made its foray into the media and communications industry by founding a subsidiary known as Creative Communication Ltd. This subsidiary is actively engaged in diverse sectors, encompassing media planning and event management.
  • 2003: In 2003, ACI ventured into the manufacturing, packaging, and sales of tea through Tetley ACI Bangladesh, a collaboration with Tata Global Beverage Overseas Holdings Limited. This partnership introduced two prominent brands, namely Tata Tea and Tetley.
  • 2004: Founded in 2004, ACI Salt Ltd expanded its presence in the Edible Salt Market. Over the past decade, ACI Salt has consistently secured the top position as the leading brand in the salt market on approximately eight occasions.
  • In the subsequent year, ACI initiated a joint venture with Godrej Agrovet of India, forming ACI Godrej Agrovet Pvt. Ltd. Through this collaboration, the company commenced the production and sale of a diverse range of animal feeds, catering to poultry, aqua, and cattle.
  • 2006: ACI embarked on its journey in the seed business. The company has established research and development stations at key institutions such as the Bangladesh Rural Development Academy, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University (BSMRAU), and Bangladesh Agricultural University. ACI Seed collaborates with several multinational entities and organizations, including but not limited to USAID, IRRI, IFC, and KATALYST.
  • 2006: Shawpna started its journey as a superstore in 2006 under ACI Logistics, functioning via its network of 144 SHWAPNO outlets, which includes 34 recently inaugurated express outlets nationwide, the company impacts the lives of over 45,000 households daily.
  • 2008: In 2008, the company ventured into multiple new enterprises. During this period, ACI made its mark in the Surface Care category with the introduction of Shinex brand products, now dominating the market as glass and floor cleaners. Additionally, the company unveiled Savlon Freedom sanitary napkins as part of its offerings in the female hygiene category.
  • In that particular year, ACI made its foray into the food industry by founding a subsidiary known as ACI Pure Flour Ltd (ACFL). 
  • 2008: ACI formed a subsidiary called Premiaflex Plastics Ltd, which initiated the manufacturing and marketing of flexible packaging, consumer plastics, and various other plastic products.
  • 2012: ACI made its presence felt in the edible oil market, introducing ACI Nutrilife Rice Bran Oil to consumers in the same year. 
  • 2013: ACI commenced the sale of herbal products through the acquisition of Neem Laboratories Pvt. Ltd. Concurrently, the company embarked on its venture into the domestic paint market.
  • In the earlier part of 2013, ACI initiated trade in the regulated pharmaceutical markets of the United States and other regions, concurrently establishing a subsidiary named ACI HealthCare Ltd.
  • 2014: ACI ventured into the market for men's grooming products.
  • 2015: ACI made its foray into the IT and mobile phone industry.
  • 2016: ACI Motors, a subsidiary of ACI, entered the motorcycle industry with the acquisition of the dealership for Yamaha, a renowned Japanese brand. ACI holds the distinction of being the pioneer in Bangladesh to introduce a motorcycle equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS).
  • 2019: ACI got the BSI certification. 
  • 2022: ACI got approval from the FDA. 

Products and Services

ACI (Advanced Chemical Industries) has established itself as a trailblazer in various sectors, showcasing a commitment to quality, innovation, and societal well-being. From pioneering pharmaceutical solutions to offering an array of consumer brands spanning toiletries, home care, and food products, ACI's presence extends across crucial domains. Following is a snapshot of various products and services that ACI provides: 

  • ACI Pharmaceuticals: Striving to enhance the well-being of the people of Bangladesh, this unit focuses on introducing cutting-edge and dependable pharmaceutical products.
  • ACI Consumer Brands: This unit provides consumers with essential goods for daily life, encompassing toiletries, home care items, hygiene products, electrical appliances, consumer electronics, paints, and vital cooking necessities like salt, flour, rice, tea, and edible oil.
  • ACI Agribusinesses: Holding the position of the largest integrator in Bangladesh, this unit operates in various domains, including agriculture, livestock, fisheries, farm mechanization, infrastructure development services, motorcycles, and seeds development. 
  • ACI Retail Chain: Claiming the title of the largest retail chain in Bangladesh, this unit manages 144 Shwapno outlets, including 34 express outlets scattered across the country, making a daily impact on the lives of over 45,000 households.
  • Herbal Products: Introduction of herbal products through the acquisition of Neem Laboratories Pvt. Ltd.
  • Men's Grooming: Entry into the men's grooming market.


In conclusion, ACI Limited stands as a dynamic force, weaving a tapestry of innovation, adaptability, and excellence across diverse industries. From its origins as a pharmaceutical giant to its expansive footprint in consumer brands, agribusinesses, retail, and beyond, ACI has continually evolved, demonstrating a steadfast commitment to meeting the ever-changing needs of its consumers. 

The company's foray into new markets, such as IT, mobile phones, and motorcycles, showcases its forward-thinking approach and readiness to embrace emerging trends. ACI's dedication to quality, sustainability, and community impact is evident in its extensive product and service offerings.

Ayrin Saleha Ria works at Future Startup as a full-time Research Associate. She has a background in Applied Sociology. Before joining the FS team, she worked and volunteered with a number of social organizations. As someone who comes from a social science background, she takes a deep interest in research around important social-economic challenges in our society. A voracious reader, Ayrin is passionate about working for the betterment of society, takes a deep interest in human society and behavioral science, and loves books.

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